Talks continue in bid to avert strike over bin collection

AMID threats to disrupt bin collection services across Dublin from Thursday, the Labour Relations Commission yesterday intervened in the ongoing dispute between SIPTU and a Dublin council over plans to outsource refuse services to a private collector.

Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council has written to the public telling them it intends to stop providing household waste collection from the end of this month. It will hand over control of the service to Panda at that point.

SIPTU, which represents council staff, says such a move is in breach of a Labour Relations Commission recommendation in November 2008 and in September 2009, that direct labour collection of waste in Dun Laoghaire be maintained.

“It also flies in the face of the commitment to maintain direct labour in the Croke Park Agreement,” SIPTU branch organiser Ramon O’Reilly said.

“The plan to bring in Panda is a breach of a council commitment to work with SIPTU in not alone promoting direct labour but to promote the service and win back customers, in addition to the rollout of a brown bin collection service for organic waste.

“Experience throughout the country has shown where waste collection is privatised, the cost to consumers rapidly increases after initial reductions and householders, who live in remote locations, or on unprofitable routes, are left to dispose of their own refuse. And, of course, private operators do not provide waivers on charges,” he said.

SIPTU’s members in the county council are planning to strike from Thursday and the union has warned it could also affect other local authority services in the borough and spread to South County Dublin, Fingal and Dublin city.

The talks at the Labour Relations Commission failed to find a solution by the time they adjourned. The union and council officials will resume talks today. Mr O’Reilly said no progress had been made and Thursday’s strike will go ahead unless the deadlock is broken.


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