Garbage truck drivers could walk off the job for a fourth time next week, as they rejected the latest pay offer from government contractor Suez.
Drivers met with the Transport Workers' Union on Wednesday morning, where the new offer of 8.3 per cent over three years was shot down.
Workers are pushing for a 12 per cent pay rise over the next three and a half years.
Suez had countered that offer with an 8 per cent rise, which they increased to 8.3 per cent, in a meeting with the Fairwork Commission on Monday.
TWU ACT sub-branch secretary Klaus Pinkas said workers would not take strike action this week but would consider it in the next few days.
Industrial action was planned for Friday but will not go ahead.
As notice must be given, workers can't walk off the job before Wednesday.
"We will continue talking to the company. The drivers said they may take industrial action depending on the outcome of the talks," Mr Pinkas said.
"We are willing to discuss any offer the company comes back with.
"An outcome will be reached eventually and we'll keep negotiating with the company."
ACT garbage truck drivers are currently paid $37.28 per hour. That is after they received a 3.4 per cent increase in April this year.
Suez say these drivers are among the best paid in the company nationwide, receiving several dollars more per hour than their interstate counterparts.
ACT manager Paul Haslam told The Canberra Times, the 12 per cent rise would be out of step with increases across the company struggling amid the pandemic.
In Victoria, Suez residential drivers in metropolitan Melbourne are on $30.24 per hour as of July, according to the enterprise bargaining agreement.
Drivers in Sydney's Canada Bay are currently paid $34.29 per hour. In two years that will be raised to $36.67 after a 3.5 per cent increase in each 2021 and 2022.
When ACT workers walked off the job in 2016, then Suez ACT manager Jason Stewart, said drivers were paid "well above award".
"On average [they] earn $95,000 per annum with many employees paid in excess of $100,000 (gross) per year," he told The Canberra Times at the time.
Mr Pinkas hoped the plight of ACT workers would give momentum for others in the industry to push for higher wages.
"Not just Suez, across the country. Low wages are a problem in this country without a doubt.
He has argued Suez make the same revenue from its ACT government contract regardless of the pandemic, and by increasing wages it would keep that money within the community.
"It's a good thing that essential workers are paid well," Mr Pinkas said.
"Low wages in the Australian economy are a problem and it's interesting when people try to do something about it they are called all sorts of things."