SIPTU outrage over €6m payout

THE country’s largest trade union has expressed outrage at revelations a local authority paid nearly €6 million to private contractors, at the time seasonal outdoor staff were being laid off.

SIPTU condemnation of Kerry County Council came after a disclosure, this week, that private plant hire and independent waste companies secured €5.8m in 2009.

The union’s sectoral organiser Andrew McCarthy said several drivers and general operatives — who had 10 and 11 months’ work in 2007 and 2008 and some of whom had over 10 years’ seasonal service with Kerry County Council — did not get any work in 2009.

“We understood this was because of the Government cutbacks. There is now a sense of outrage among the seasonal staff that the council paid €€5.8m to private contractors while these experienced workers with years of service were ignored,” Mr McCarthy said.

He said SIPTU would be calling on the local authority “to get its house in order” and ensure its own seasonal staff are employed before another cent is given to contractors in 2010.

Mr McCarthy said the sense of outrage was palpable.

“It is unthinkable Kerry County Council is contributing to the coffers of major contractors while at the same time their own workers are among the legions of the record unemployed numbers in the county,” he said.

Mr McCarthy said the union would be calling on the council to completely rethink its use of contractors.

The council’s director of roads Charlie O’Sullivan, said the local authority had to comply with Government guidelines in relation to private contractors.

He also insisted value for money was a key factor.

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