General waste bin collection in Newtownabbey, and compostable bin collection in Antrim, under threat of transfer to private operators
Fears that other council services including litter collection and leisure services may follow suit
April 11th: Following a meeting with management, Unite Regional Officer, Michael Keenan, has indicated his union’s outright opposition to proposals by Antrim & Newtownabbey council management plans to outsource waste collection to a private company.
“Unite met with Antrim & Newtownabbey Borough Council management to hear their proposals for waste collection services in both legacy council areas. Unfortunately, they appear intent on the outright transfer of waste bin collection to private sector operators.
“In the former Newtownabbey council area the black bin (general waste) collection is to be outsourced, while in Antrim, for the first time, brown bins (compostable waste) are to be passed over to the private sector.
“Management believe they can obtain sufficient voluntary redundancies to bring forward their plans to avoid Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) TUPE obligations. This will mean that new workers doing this work will be paid less than those currently employed by the council directly.
“We are concerned that this move to outsource all bin collection in Newtownabbey will make the same inevitable in the Antrim legacy council area in the future. Council staff members also fear that this approach may be repeated in relation to the outsourcing of Leisure Services and avoidance of TUPE protections for those workers.
“Private sector operators are motivated only by the need to maximise profit. Outsourcing will downgrade workers’ pay and terms & conditions and potentially undermine the service in future years. Where bin collection has been outsourced elsewhere, the experience has been that once you lose control over waste streams you lose your ability to bring forward effective reduction and recycling initiatives. Ratepayers also find private sector staff are pressured to be less accommodating and understanding than public sector workers
“In the days ahead, we will be engaging our members on our next steps in response to management proposals”, Mr Keenan ended.