Ireland: Anti-bin charges campaign seriously disrupts services

The Anti-Bin Tax Campaigns in Dublin have successfully blockaded the bin depots at Collins Avenue, Rathmines, Davitt Road (Dublin City Council) and Ballymount (South County Dublin) this morning (30th October).

The Campaigns have demonstrated once again that they have the capacity to cause serious disruption to the bin collection service.

Garda¡ [the police] used heavy-handed tactics against protestors in Rathmines, Collins Avenue and Ballymount, including repeatedly dragging protestors off the road.

After two failed attempts by Garda¡ to force bin trucks out of the Collins Avenue depot, the protestors called off the blockade after five hours.

On two occasions, bin workers at Collins Avenue refused to drive their trucks out of the depot after they witnessed Garda¡ dragging protestors off the road.

Moreover, after the protest, the bin workers showed their support for the protestors with a round of applause.

Further protests and blockades are planned by the Anti-Bin Tax Campaigns and will continue until the Councils abandon their policy of non-collection and collect the bins of all householders and the bin tax is scrapped.


Leaflet distributed to bin workers

Defeat the bin tax to defeat privatisation

We have more support than this government

Last Sunday’s poll in the Tribune showed that 37% of Dubliners support the tactics of our campaigns. It is unfortunate that a straight poll on support or opposition to the tax itself was not conducted. The result is astounding given the slanders and lies in the media about us. It means hundreds of thousands and probably the majority of PAYE workers in Dublin support us. It means more Dubliners support our campaign than support this unrepresentative Government.

The anti-bin tax campaigns issued a warning to the councils in Dublin, that protests will be placed on the bin depots unless they give a public undertaking to scrap the policy of non-collection. Non-collection and the threat of it are the weapons being used to impose the bin tax on our communities.

Protests at the bin depots on 14 and 15 October showed that the anti-bin tax campaign has the determination to cause massive disruption to the bin collection service and that the Councils and the Government can be put under huge pressure.

Protests to resume

The jailing of 15 protesters has failed to intimidate or break our campaign. Since October 15 Dun Laoghaire/Rathdown Council have taken 18 protesters to the High Court, South Dublin County Council have begun to seize the bins of non payers in the Tallaght area and Dublin City Council has officially dismissed our demands. Therefore the anti-bin tax campaign has been given no choice other than to organise more protests until the councils retreat on the policy of non-collection and the courts.

Council’s privatisation denial a lie

Do you believe Council management when they say the service will not be privatised? These unelected, and unaccountable bureaucrats cannot be trusted. In 41 local authority areas where the bin tax was introduced privatisation has followed. For the bin workers privatisation has resulted in redundancies, wage cuts, a decimation of working conditions and automatic union representation has gone out the window.

SIPTU is currently involved in an industrial dispute with Limerick County Council who are trying to privatise their bin collection service. The privately owned Oxigen and National Waste Management companies have refused to let their workers join a union. Bin workers in Dublin City Council have to collect 1200 bins per shift – in privatised areas workers have to collect up to 2,000 bins per shift for less money! This is your future if Fianna Fail and the PD’s get away with bringing in the bin tax and fulfil their Government’s agenda – to sell off our public services.

Beating the bin tax – a barrier to privatisation

If the Councils and the Government can successfully implement the bin tax, then and only then will a private company be interested in taking over the service. Dublin would be the most profitable of all refuse collection services. Defeating the bin tax is the best way to defeat privatisation. Do you think that a private operator will be interested in taking over the bin collection service when they will have to impose a charge against massive public opposition? The best way to stop privatisation, and to defend jobs and working conditions is to link this fight to the battle against the bin tax. The campaign by the communities is a barrier to privatisation. The communities need the support of the bin workers to defeat the bin tax and the bin workers need the support of the communities to defeat privatisation. We must work together.

Campaign halts non-collection

So far the Councils have only implemented non-collection in areas where the campaign has not been firmly established. But they have tried to use the threat of non-collection to intimidate people into paying. They are fearful of imposing non-collection in the established working class communities and that’s because the figures for non-payment are much higher than the falsified figures from the councils would indicate. The councils would first like to build up the figures for payment through intimidation, isolate the strong areas and then force bin workers to impose non-collection. Pressurising the bin workers to implement non-collection is quite likely over the next days and weeks.

Protect health and safety of bin workers and the right to protest

There are also important health and safety issues facing bin workers because of the dispute between the campaign and the council management. Campaigners do not want bin workers to be taken off the pay roll for refusing to do their normal job. However we would ask bin workers to continue to insist on their right to work in a healthy and safe environment. At one depot the insistence of the bin workers that passing the anti-bin tax pickets had resulted in a breach of health and safety successfully prevented the Councils and the Gardai from cutting across our right to protest without any sanction against the workers. We are on the same side in this battle and it is important that we support each other as much as possible.

Get organised and demand the support of your union

SIPTU and IMPACT have the power to get the bin tax scrapped and to prevent the privatisation of your jobs. SIPTU is opposed in words to the bin tax and non-collection. It is a disgrace that pressure is being put on individual bin workers not to collect the rubbish of fellow PAYE workers. Before the pressure to impose non-collection is intensified, bin workers in the depots should come together and register their opposition to non-collection and demand an immediate commitment from the leadership of SIPTU that bin workers refusing to implement non-collection have the 100% support of the union. Defeating non-collection could defeat the bin tax.

Unity to beat tax and save jobs

The best way to secure your job is for the anti-bin tax campaign to succeed. A defeat of the bin tax will play a fundamental part in keeping out the profiteers, and to stop the privatisation of our bin collection service.

Issued by the Anti-bin Tax Campaigners

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October 2003