Waste privatisation dispute for Labour Court

26th October 2011

IMPACT’s dispute over Dublin City Council’s proposals to outsource its waste collection service is destined for the Labour Court after a Labour Relations Commission (LRC) hearing failed to make progress. Meanwhile, the union has continued to lobby the city’s councillors, who have convened a special meeting with the city manager on the issue.

Earlier in October councillors overwhelmingly passed a motion opposing the city manager’s plans to outsource the waste collection service. The motion was passed after IMPACT circulated councillors with a position paper setting out the consequences of outsourcing – higher charges, the end of waivers, and risks to public safety and the environment.

IMPACT and Siptu have met with all the main political groups in the council.

An IMPACT position paper, circulated to all councillors, urged the manager to withdraw notices issued to staff, which asked them to outline their redeployment preferences. The union has advised members not to respond to the notices for the time being.

IMPACT has said it is willing to find savings to ensure that the Dublin city council retains its waste collection service. The union says the outsourcing proposal will inevitably lead to higher charges for waste collection and the end of waivers. This will lead to substantial hardship for residents, including over 37,000 of the city’s poorest families who currently qualify for waivers.

The union’s policy paper also expressed concerns over future service quality and the potential impact of this decision on public health and the city’s environment.  Increased charges and would “likely result in more illegal ‘fly tipping’ with increased public health risks, a poorer social and business environment, and increased financial costs to the Council,” it says.

The paper argues that no decision should be finalised at least until the Government brings forward its anticipated proposals to regulate the waste collection and disposal market.

IMPACT says it is unclear how the Council intends to enforce contract compliance and maintain high standards of service quality, tidiness and public health after outsourcing takes place. “IMPACT is fundamentally opposed to Dublin City Council’s decision to outsource residential and commercial waste collection services. This decision will have profound negative effects on the city, its people and its environment, for which its elected representatives will be held accountable,” it says.

The union argues that the Council will irrevocably forego its capacity to provide waste collection services if it outsources. “Against the background of an extremely light regulatory regime for waste collection, the loss of Dublin City Council’s capacity to provide this service will place it in a permanently weakened position in its dealings with private providers, with massive implications for charges, waivers, service quality and, potentially, public health,” it says.