Waste collection workers at Antrim & Newtownabbey Borough Council to leaflet households over outsourcing

052Unite, GMB and NIPSA unions join together to warn outsourcing will diminish bin collection service and threatens bin charges

Outsourcing a false economy – meaning lower pay, poorer health & safety and less reponsibility

Speaking on behalf of the three Unions, NIPSA, GMB and Unite, which represent workers in Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council, Unite Regional Officer Michael Keenan, outlined their opposition to the outsourcing of bin collection services across the council area:

“All three unions representing waste collection workers and staff at the council are united in our opposition to moves to outsource bin collection.  

“Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council management propose to outsource black bin, general non-recyclable, waste collection in the former Newtownabbey council area and to outsource brown bin, compostable waste, collection in the former Antrim council area. As both recyclable and compostable waste are already outsourced in what was the former Newtownabbey council area – this proposal would mean that only in the former Antrim council area would blue and black bin collection remain in-house. 

“Leaving aside our concerns over outsourcing of public services generally, the council’s approach is clearly poorly thought-through, rooted as it is on the old council demarcations. Our concerns have only been heightened by the failure of management to fully engage with unions and explain the rationale for the move – especially as it could open the door to bin charges in the future. 

“Outsourcing these services will only achieve cost-savings through corner-cutting on service, health & safety protections and a race-to-the-bottom on workers’ pay and conditions. Management also appear deaf to the experience of householders in Newtownabbey who want to see bin collection brought back to the council where low-paid and rushed contract operators routinely fail to collect bins, leave them back in the wrong place, or lift them as late as nine o’clock in the evening! 

“The unions have proposed an alternative three-weekly collection cycle which would keep the service in-house and result in genuine efficiencies and cost-savings through economies of scale and a natural fit with a three-bin system. Unfortunately management saw fit to reject our proposal out-of-hand. 

“Our members are now taking their campaign against outsourcing to the streets. We will be distributing a leaflet to householders in coming days and weeks. All three unions will then consider our next options in this fight”, Mr Keenan finished.

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