Free the Bin Tax Campaigners

A message to all bin workers

From the Anti Bin Tax Campaigns

The Councils and the Government have jailed 15 people to intimidate and frighten residents into giving up their campaign against the bin tax. The blockades at the bin depots on Tuesday and Wednesday shows that they have failed. The campaign to end non-collection and to force the Councils to collect all bins will continue.

The joint stand by the communities and bin workers this week illustrates how the bin tax can be defeated. The failure of Council management to divide residents and bin workers was due to the bin workers understanding that the campaign against the bin tax is completely linked to their campaign against privatisation.

Bin tax will lead to privatisation

The bullying tactics of Council management, the threats of lay-offs and deducting wages also failed. The anti-bin tax campaign applauds the stand taken by the bin workers. If the Councils and the Government get away with the bin tax, and show that refuse collection can be a profitable service they will put it up for sale and privatise it. Your job will be under threat. Under a private contractor you will not have the automatic right to join a union nor will you have the same wage rates and terms and conditions of employment that you have now. Workers at the private waste recycling companies Oxigen and National Waste Management are currently involved in industrial disputes because these companies have refused to let them join SIPTU. These disputes clearly show the future for all bin workers under privatisation if this Government and the Councils get away with implementing the bin tax.

Health and Safety

The current dispute between the communities and the Councils raises many health and safety issues. By refusing to collect the rubbish of non-payers the Councils are creating a potential health hazard in the communities. Residents will therefore continue their protests in order to get all bins collected. The incident at Collins Avenue on Tuesday showed there are health and safety issues for bin workers, similar health and safety issues are also raised by blockades in the housing estates. Bin workers must continue to insist that the health and safety regulations governing their work be fully implemented. Residents insisting on their right to protest and bin workers insisting on their health and safety rights forced the Councils back this week.

Collect all bins

SIPTU are opposed to the bin tax and Jack O’Connor, SIPTU President has said that the union is also opposed to non-collection. Bin workers should immediately insist that the SIPTU leadership officially adopts and implements a policy of collecting all bins irrespective of whether householders have paid the bin tax or not. If this tactic were given the 100% backing of the SIPTU leadership then the Councils and the Government would be powerless to implement the bin tax

The Councils are now threatening to jail more protesters, some reports claim that up to 20 more people now face imprisonment. The ATGWU has passed a motion calling on the Dublin Council of Trade Unions to organise a demonstration during working hours against the bin tax, non-collection and the jailing of protesters. Contact your union and call on them to support this motion, and to campaign and build for a City-wide work stoppage to encourage thousands of workers to participate in this work-time demonstration.

By standing together the bin workers and the anti-bin tax campaign can defeat the hated bin tax and stop the privatisation of the bin collection service.

Committee for a workers' International publications

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