Council’s decision to privatise refuse collection – unfortunate vindication of warnings of Anti Bin Tax campaign

Fingal County Council has informed Councillors by letter that it is to cease providing a bin service by the end of the year. The letter follows the issue being tabled by Socialist Party Councillors at the Council meeting next Monday.

Council management claim that monies would have to be diverted from other areas to defray the losses of €7 million projected for providing a bin service in 2012. The Council has lost a steady stream of customers to private contractors in the refuse market.

This is yet another instalment in the race to the bottom as unionised workers are replaced by cheaper labour.

The Socialist Party warned at the time of the battle against the introduction of bin charges that, once fees are levied for such essential services as refuse collection or water, then inevitably these services will end up as privatised commodities.  Waivers and other concessions are invariably withdrawn. Unfortunately, this is proving true in Fingal as in the majority of Councils in the country.

The dropping of the bin service by the Fingal County Manager is a direct result of the cuts from local government to Councils. The €7million projected costs for the bin service mirrors the fall in the Local Government Fund to Fingal from €33.8 m in 2008 to €26.2million in 2011.

What will be the stance of the Labour Party as the largest Party on Fingal  Council  now that this service is to be privatised? Nationally, Jack O’Connor of SIPTU – whose union represents  the bin workers – claims to have got assurances from Eamon Gilmore on the contracting out of waste collection services  before voting for Labour to go into coalition. ( Irish Times 2 Mar 2011) The detail of this should now be outlined.

The three Socialist Party representatives will strenuously oppose this on Fingal Council in any way possible.