Binmen meet council on jobs


Dublin city's 110 former bin-men will not be told until Friday what their new jobs will be. The council ended its bin-collection service on Friday after 150 years.

This morning private company Greyhound Recycling and Recovery began collecting the bins of up to 140,000 customers in the city.

A spokesman said the company would collect bins this month as long as there was sufficient credit in a customer's account to cover the per-lift charge - €6 for black/grey bins and €2 for brown bins. Customers must also have paid the €100 annual service charge by 15th February to maintain service.

Customers may choose, however, to have their bins collected by other service providers. Though Greyhound Recycling and Recovery bought the list of customers from the council in December, customers are not tied to the company.

At a meeting today at the Civic Offices, assistant city manager, Séamus Lyons, told the former binmen their "basic pay" would be protected following their redeployment to other departments. They may be reassigned to work in the parks, water, roads, housing or drainage sections.

A number expressed their anger that they still did not know where they would be working from next Monday. One man who spoke said the council had "changed all our lives around, changed our wives' and families' lives around".

Mr Lyons said final decisions on where the men will work from next Monday had not been made to allow them time this week to express preferences for different departments. He said they would hear later this week the number of vacancies in each section and, based on seniority, who would have first preference for certain positions.

Also at issue was the €60 per week glancing allowance', which has been paid to men in the cleansing department since 1997, in recognition of the dirty and inclement conditions in which they had to work.

One of the men said it was "€240 a month which is €240 of my mortgage that I have to pay every month and now I don't have". Mr Lyons said the issue was still under discussion with unions Impact and Siptu.

People Before Profit councillor, Bríd Smith, who had been invited by some of the bin-workers to the meeting, said they should not have their current wages cut as a result of the council's withdrawal from waste collection "as the move from their jobs is a forced move".

The men were then addressed by managers of different sections where they may work.

Later they were addressed by officials from Impact and Siptu, who said negotiations on the cleansing allowance and redeployment would continue tomorrow. They would brief the men again on Friday.

Assistant city manager Séamus Lyons said the council's former customers were not tied to transferring their custom to Greyhound Recycling and Recovery and could shop around.

A database of customer names and addresses has, however, been given to Greyhound as part of the transfer of business.

Many people affected by the switch in their bin collection from Dublin City Council to the private operator were only receiving formal notification today.

The council said the rationalisation of the waste collection service had been a "prominent feature" in media coverage for a number of months.

It said letters were being posted to customers on a staggered basis ensuring that those whose collection was due today received theirs first, with those for collection tomorrow following.

The council said no customer bank details were being transferred from the city council to Greyhound.

"It will be a matter for customers to set up direct debit or standing orders with Greyhound Recycling and Recovery, if they choose to use Greyhound as their service provider."

Greyhound will, the council said, be responsible for collection of outstanding charges on behalf of the council.

Asked whether it had consulted the Data Protection Commissioner on the changeover, the council said "adherence to the obligations of the relevant data protection legislation was assiduously observed".

South Dublin County Council also transferred its bin collection service to Greyhound last year. The move affected about 60,000 customers.

In response to a parliamentary question last week regarding a waiver of bin charges for low-income households, Minister for the Environment Phil Hogan said he expected to be in a position to submit final proposals in relation to household waste collection to Government early this year.

The Minister told Labour Party TD Joanna Tuffy: "All policy proposals will be carefully considered by Government and will take account of the full range of issues and perspectives. The issue of waivers for low income households will be among the issues for consideration in this context."