20 February 1997 Edition

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Refuse strike hits 66,000 homes

Over sixty six thousand homes and businesses in the South Dublin Council area face their second week without refuse collections as 120 refuse workers continue their 13 day strike.

The workers took industrial action over disagreements between them and South Dublin council on the increase in workloads and the introduction of wheelie bins. What makes the strike bizarre is that the workers' union SIPTU has managed to negotiate a deal with nearby Fingal Council, while South Dublin have rejected the same terms.

South Dublin refuse workers operate in a five person team, four lifters and one driver. Under their previous agreement each team would have a daily workload of 750 to 800 houses. Under an agreement signed last December the workers agreed to increase their workload for a one-off bonus of £1,000. The agreement as they saw it was they would complete a run of 1,200 houses or two full lorry loads of refuse.

However, it is almost impossible to complete a run of 1,200 houses with only two runs and so many housing estates in South Dublin have been without refuse collections since early January.

The SIPTU representative for the workers, John Glennon, told An Phoblacht that he had concluded successful agreements in Fingal, but here the council had introduced new equipment before changing the routes to cater for the increased number of houses. South Dublin Council he said were insisting on introducing the new routes before the introduction of new wheelie bin lifters which increase the capacity of trucks to get through the 1,200 houses.

Refuse workers in Fingal had managed to up their capacity from 850 houses to 1,200 within six weeks of the introduction of new lifting gear on machines.

Mr Glennon also maintains that South Dublin Council rejected the independent facilitator used to resolve any difficulties in negotiations with Fingal Council and now SIPTU representatives are threatening to extend the dispute to other parts of local government services.

Local Sinn Féin representative Seán Crowe said, ``Since South Dublin Council was established there has been nothing but problems. The whole bureaucratic operation of the council has been to obstruct the needs of the community. There are a whole litany of issues, on housing, on drugs and other local authority services, which have not been dealt with adequately. It comes as no surprise then to people in the area that the council has caused this dispute.''

An Phoblacht
44 Parnell Sq.
Dublin 1