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Trade union latest on bin tax

category dublin | bin tax / household tax / water tax | news report author Thursday September 25, 2003 05:34author by Bob is your Uncle, Ruth is your Aunt Report this post to the editors

TEEU shop stewards demand Dublin Council of Trade Unions meeting to discuss bin tax action. Meanwhile, ICTU bureaucrat stabs bin tax protestors in the back.

Quotations from the Irish Times:

"Calls for the trade union movement to support the anti-bin tax charges campaign were firmly rejected yesterday by the general secretary of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions, Mr David Begg"

"In a strongly worded condemnation of the campaign, Mr Begg said it could lead to privatisation of the services and a loss of jobs. He also urged the jailed Socialist Party politicians, Mr Joe Higgins TD and Cllr Clare Daly, to purge their contempt of the High Court and 'cool things down'."


"Shop stewards of one union, the TEEU, which represents workers with local authorities, last night called on the Dublin Council of Trade Unions to hold an emergency meeting to discuss what action should be taken".


"Campaign spokeswoman Ms Ruth Coppinger criticised Mr Beggs remarks, saying the trade union movement should back up its 'official position against the bin charges' with 'appropriate action'."

"The Socialist Party councillor urged trade unions to organise work stoppages to demand the release of Mr Higgins and Ms Daly."

Perhaps Indymedia readers might take a moment or two of their time to contact the ICTU and politely let Mr Begg know precisely how much his craven behaviour is appreciated.

author by Sean Keeganpublication date Thu Sep 25, 2003 09:15author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Surely you did not expect any support from the top Trade Union bureaucracy, the likes of Beggs, Geraghty etc. ? They're totally embedded in the system. Decades of "Partnership" and National Wage Agreements have turned them into the sheepdogs of the capitalist system, whose sole function is to make sure the herd follows blindly.

author by conor - ucdSA - in a personal capacitypublication date Thu Sep 25, 2003 09:45author email conor at ziplip dot comauthor address author phone Report this post to the editors

sounded like the ff councillor for ballybeg.

Related Link:
author by Precision Manpublication date Thu Sep 25, 2003 09:54author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I heard Begg on rte. How many times do I have to repeat myself? Look at what I said yesterday on this issue:

He does not represent anyone except those few officials who have their heads firmly up the establishment's rear end.

It beggarse belief.

author by Allen - LPpublication date Thu Sep 25, 2003 09:56author address author phone Report this post to the editors

It is inevitable that this action will lead to privatisation, just look what happened in sligo where they pay over €500 a year.

Joe and co. would be better off protesting for more recycling facilities in Ireland, for manufacturers to use less packaging and for business to pay their fair share too.

We are already one of the dirtiest countries in Europe with a very poor environmental record.

what can you expect from the SP,we all know they thing environmentalist are off the wall, middle-class, well to dos. Class politic first, environment second, we´ll we all remember the environmental record of the former soviet union.

author by Precision Manpublication date Thu Sep 25, 2003 09:58author address author phone Report this post to the editors

What on earth was conor's comment about? Would people check what they are sending before hitting the "publish" button?

author by Raypublication date Thu Sep 25, 2003 10:13author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I've deleted your sig Conor. Please, just post the message in future.

author by Big Johnpublication date Thu Sep 25, 2003 10:13author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Allen, your point was already refuted yesterday, see the link above from Precision Man, for example, and these same points have also been spelt out in a few other threads.

As an active trade unionist I am disgusted at David Begg. This campaign has the full support of the Dublin Council of Trade Unions. Begg is out of touch with ordinary trade unionists.
I can't remember when I ever saw Begg on a protest march or a picket.

P.S. Someone please take the editing scissors to conor's post above.

author by Mikepublication date Thu Sep 25, 2003 10:52author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Begg's back stabbing is not the first betrayal by the trade union leadership. They have been at it for years through social partnership. However, most on the left refuse to confront them. During the war on Iraq, the SP and SWP refused to back calls to lobby ICTU and in this campaign they had little to say at the beginning about the unions. The campaign should have demanded that SIPTU instruct its members to lift all bins. It didn't do so , cause some on the left want to maintain a cosy relationship with the trade union bureaucracy, which is why the likes of Geraghty get invited to speak at anti-globalisation rallies.

Now the bureaucracy has gone and stuffed it to that same left when two of them are in jail. It was only to be expected. Hopefully the left will learn the lesson that sucking up to the bureaucrats won't do any good.

Incidentally, for the Irish Social Forum it was agreed that Social Partnership would not be on the agenda. Just another example of woolly headed thinking to get bureaucrats on board. Maybe Begg will give a speech at it.

author by Michael O'Brien - Socialist Partypublication date Thu Sep 25, 2003 11:15author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Allen's remarks are completley at odds with what has happened virtually everywhere outside Dublin where the privitization of the bin service has taken place AFTER the bin charge has been introduced. Why should Fingal be any different given that the political make-up of the council (FF/FG coalition) is the same.

Labour did vote against the introduction of the bin charge in Fingal. However once the council voted it in their position was one of "pay the charge and vote us into government where we will abolish the charge". Thankfully enough people had sense to ignore this advice last year and build the campaign.

author by Anti Bin taxpublication date Thu Sep 25, 2003 11:25author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Mike, while I agree with your points about the Union. YOur been (a) ignorant (b)untruthful - its absoloutely the case that teh campaign raised teh role of teh trade unions from the word go. Either you werent around, & should keep quiet or you were but have your own anti party axe to grind.

author by Andrewpublication date Thu Sep 25, 2003 11:25author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Just to let people know that a blockade is underway in Stoneybatter on the Drumlee estate. You can see teh truck and protesters from Hanlons corner on the North Circular road.

Related Link:
author by Niall Ó Brolcháin - Green Partypublication date Thu Sep 25, 2003 11:35author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Would it not be better to build a campaign against the privatisation of waste collection involving The Greens, The Labour Party, Sinn Féin, The Trade Unions etc.

None of these groups would have any difficulty in supporting such a campaign.

Ultimately the fracturing of the Left will lead not only to privatisation, incineration, superdumps etc. It will allow Bertie and Mary to sit back and smile serenely as their potential opposition tears itself to pieces.

I'm sure the SP will gain three or four more council seats in Dublin as a result of all this but at what cost?

author by pat cpublication date Thu Sep 25, 2003 11:39author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Brollachain supports bin taxes. The Greens also want to bring in Water charges and a 15% flat income tax.

Niall, why dont you tax the rich instead of putting the burden on PAYE tax payers?

The Greens have pushed things down the road of privatisation by supporting bin taxes.

author by Niall Ó Brolchain - Green Partypublication date Thu Sep 25, 2003 11:43author address author phone Report this post to the editors

You are completely misrepresenting our policies yet again.

author by sp - sppublication date Thu Sep 25, 2003 11:45author address author phone Report this post to the editors

yes we are all for it, as long as you are against it. Now the first step in privatising anything is charging for it. you can't privatise it otherwise. So if the bin charges get through they next step will be privatisation. But how do we prevent that? We could have a few marches on the dail with a few hundred people but would they listen? Course not. So it would be down to the unions to oppose it. Of course while the bin workers probably would they won't be backed up by the rest of the trade union movement, and what can ordinary people do? Not much. Therefore the best and probably only way to prevent privatisation is too nail it before they get a chance. That is now. the green party and Sinn fein should support the campaign. Also if this battle is lost it will be quite hard to get people to campaign on privatisation. its now or never greens, join the fight. And also on an enviormentalist issue if this comes through you will see illegal dumping go throught the roof. that will happen.

author by pat cpublication date Thu Sep 25, 2003 11:49author address author phone Report this post to the editors

1. the greens support a flat rate bin tax, you pay the same per throw no matter how much you earn.

2. the greens support a flat rate water charge, you pay the same per litre no matter how much you earn.

3. the greens support a flat rate income tax. you pay the same % no matter how much you earn.

4. All the above are regressive taxes.

5. By supporting bin taxes in the first place, the greens allow a situation wherby the taxes will inevitably rise and make privatisation easier.

Niall, you are the liar on this thread.

author by pat cpublication date Thu Sep 25, 2003 11:50author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Dont let them away with it, confront the Greens:

The Green Party 618 4088
(Dail Press office)

Ciaran Cuffe 6773372
Dan Boyle 6184227
Paul Gogarty 6183022
Trevor Sargeant 6183465
Eamon Ryan 6183097
John Gormley 6184247

author by Allen - LPpublication date Thu Sep 25, 2003 12:10author address author phone Report this post to the editors

i agree with Niall, this campaign should be anti-privatisation and pro-environment.

The shorth sightedness for the SP is typical of policies in this country. Currently we recycle less than 10% of waste, while others in Europe recycle over 50%.

This is not just bad for the environment, but our pollution will cost us in the long run, prosection by the EU Commission and fines to be paid under Kyoto could amount to millions over the next few years. Who's going to have to pay for that?

With out tackling the waste managment problem sooner rather than later, the only answer that will be proposed by government will be incineration.

Its about time Irish people realise this, we can't continue to be the dirty man of Europe. The post-colonial atitude to litter and waste can only be solved by a proper campaign about waste and the implmentaion of the polluter must pay principle.

bur the SP policies are too economic deterministic, everything boils down to class politics. I'm affraid this is a lot bigger issue.

author by Mikepublication date Thu Sep 25, 2003 12:15author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The campaign hasn't raised the questions of unions from the word go. These charges have been around for a long time with workers in bin collection services not been approached in the run up to anything. The first thing that was done once the Council decided not to collect unpaid bins was blockade the lorries instead of demanding that the unions instruct their members to lift all bins or at the very least state that they would back any worker who did so.

Will there be a picket of ICTU over Begg's comments not likely. The left will say that the government is to blame and this is true but they did it with the help of the union bureacracy. SIPTU were the ones that negotiated bin charges in Limerick. With the scabs like Begg and Geraghty the government wouldn't be able to push these things true. It is not good enough to just say the campaign asked unions to support it. At he Mountjoy rally no specific demands were made, it was all general.

Hopefully some of the smaller unions may start something, but it will be despite not because of the left.

author by pat cpublication date Thu Sep 25, 2003 12:24author address author phone Report this post to the editors

i think there should be a picket of the ictu hq, in this case i dont think anyone in the anti bin campaigns wants to cosy up to the ictu burocracy.

i also think there should be pickets on the green party and labour hqs.

author by Anonymouspublication date Thu Sep 25, 2003 12:49author address author phone Report this post to the editors

since Rabbite's speech about not allowing "workers" to hold back "opening the provision of public services to the private sector" which will also, supposedly, benefit "consumers who are also workers", do none of the LP posters here see the utter stupidity of those comments this week of all weeks.

The bin-tax campaign has pitted "consumers who are also workers" against and authoritarian local authority with the so-called backward looking "workers" stuck in the middle. This will be the shape of things to come and if Rabbitte and co. go down the road he suggests they will get everything they deserve.

For Green party members - if local communities decide in the future to stage direct action against superdumps, incinerators that have been "lawfully" constructed after receiving approval through the planning process, council votes etc - will the Green party support injunctions and prison sentences against citizens who take action to try and stop such developments?

Say what you like about the bin tax campaign but the strong arm of the state is limbering up for confrontation over any number of waste related issues particularly incinerators, superdumps and the like - and who is going to fight for local communities then? It doesn't look like the Green Party has the guts - a party that is all environmental consciousness but zero political sense.

author by Niall Ó Brolcháin - Green Partypublication date Thu Sep 25, 2003 13:04author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The waste situation in Ireland as a whole is much more serious than many people realise. All serious political parties including the SP are well aware that we can't keep producing unlimited waste and expect it to disappear into thin air.

With strict EU guidlines on waste and pollution we are stuck between a rock and a hard place. The Irish produce more waste per capita than any other EU nation.

Incineration or the Green reduce-reuse-recycle model are the only obvious ways out of the situation that we find ourselves in as there are very few suitable landfill sites left.

Privatisation will inevetably lead us down the incineration route as a proper recycling infrastructure will take a lot of time, money and effort to build up. (The Government allowed our only Glass bottling plant to close recently despite the fact it was making a profit.)

The stated aims of anti-bin tax campaign could probably be accommodated into Green thinking but only if environmental issues were properly dealt with as part of an overall package.

author by Terrypublication date Thu Sep 25, 2003 13:11author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Time and time again the issue has come up as to why the unions are not fighting our case. At the beginning of the campaign it was do the unions know about us. The unions have supposedly taken a stance and our supposed to be on our side. But as we all know they have done absolutely nothing. Taking a stand, means speaking out and supporting the membership. The unions leadership and bureaucracy have not done this.

And just this morning (Thurs 25th Sept, 2003) David Begg has come out on the radio with a strategy designed to divide the campaign. He says he opposes the charges, yet he says he opposes the strategy of blockading lorries. If the lorries were not blockaded, the campaign would have been finished weeks ago. He says instead we should just voice our objections. We have done that. Democracy is not working in this country. It is corrupt. The overwhelming majority of people oppose this. From Freedom Of Information figures, we know that in region of 70% to 80% of people have not paid the charges. The government and councils have consistently mislead people on this.

We have challenged the law and won. The government then changed the law. We have not paid. The State threatens and bullies us. We march and protest. The State ignores us. Two politicans who support the campaign (Joe Higgins & Clare Daly) have stood up and defended the people. They have been jailed. -What is David Begg talking about?

And then David Begg has the nerve to say we are mislead and misguided. He says people are not addressing the overall waste strategy. Well the strategy of the government is incineration. The campaign fully supports a comprehensive system to encourage the reduction of waste and recycling. Recycling can deal with 80% of our waste. The government and councils strategy has been to underfund this infrastructure so that it fails. We say tax the real polluters. How about a levy on excessive packaging for starters.

The union bureaucracy and leadership is well out of touch with their membership. We have to ask why this is so. What purpose do they now serve? Do they serve their members or some other entity?

There are many people who may read this, and are members of unions. They should ask themselves when was the last time they were at a branch meeting. If you don't go anymore, why? Do the top ranks of your union seem distant and remote. Have you any influence over them or the shaping of their policies?

Unions should clearly be open, transparent and democratic structures to the core. They are supposed to serve their membership. Many years ago, when unions started, they were quite democratic, although not all were. What has happened. Through innumerable small changes of rules to make it more 'efficient' or 'easier' to get things done, these little changes had the effect of creating a larger and larger 'professional' or bureacractic layer and an more powerful role and influence for the top committee and leadership. The overall long term trend has been a shift of power away from members and the concentration towards the top. As this happened they have simultaneously become more undemocratic. At this point power is so concentrated, that branch meetings are a waste of time precisely because they accomplish nothing for the ordinary members. The power has long since left them. The net effect is to make workers feel disillusioned, powerless and apathetic. All the big decisions have already been made.

When any organisation has reached this state of affairs or even well before it, it is ripe for manipulation, influence by outside forces and essentially the hijacking of it's direction. This happens all time in the field biology where viral infections which are just strings of DNA, infect living cells, hijack the DNA there and with their own key genes and redirect the machinery of the cell and harness all it's resources by to achieve the viruses own goals. Likewise it easier for innumerable forces to influence the few at the top where the power resides that the whole body of the membership, which would be a lot lot harder to do if it was fully democratic in a participatory manner.

This is why the unions are out of touch. The union leadership has long ago been co-opted by the State. They barely serve the needs of the workers anymore. The union's performance over recent times has shown clearly how they are serving the interests of the government. They have managed to mislead people into thinking that they are behind the campaign, then at the same time they not only do nothing, they come out with statements totally at odds with the majority and which are extremely divisive.

author by conor - ucdsapublication date Thu Sep 25, 2003 13:18author email conor at ziplip dot comauthor address author phone Report this post to the editors

My comment was well thought out.

i suppose an indymedia comment must follow a strict set of rules and thought processes. thats the inde-way!

the comment related to the fate of larry sellers when dude and walter confronted him with regard to the million bones.

i suppose im the donny here .... wandering into and out of the conversation.

greens: the worker is part of the environment

socialists: the environment is part of the worker

so..... why the problemo-s?

author by James - Anti-bin tax & WSMpublication date Thu Sep 25, 2003 13:40author address author phone Report this post to the editors

by Niall Ó Brolcháin - Green Party:
"Would it not be better to build a campaign against the privatisation of waste collection involving The Greens, The Labour Party, Sinn Féin, The Trade Unions etc."

Yes it would, and a good first step would be to join in the anti-bin tax campaign which by preventing a charge being put on the service makes it unattractive to private operaters. Why wait until the entire campaign has a perfect envirionmental policy? The critical battle to prevent privatisation is happening now. To wait until we lose this would just make implmenting your policies harder. Join in now!!

author by pat cpublication date Thu Sep 25, 2003 14:16author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Brollachain has no credibility in his pretend opposition to privatisation. By supporting bin taxes the greens are making eventual privatisation easier.

the greens share responsibility for the imprisonment of joe & clare.

dont let brollachain sidetrack the debate. whats at issue now is getting rid of bin charges. waste disposal can be discussed after the bin charges are abolished.

author by Lascivious Larrypublication date Thu Sep 25, 2003 15:07author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Mike, what you are saying is factually untrue.

The campaign has been doing its best from the very beginning to convince the bin workers to take action and to force the unions to give them real backing and take whatever other action is needed.

That hasn't worked so far but we aren't going to cease trying. If you were at the Free Joe and Clare march for instance you would have heard Ruth Coppinger introducing each of the trade union speakers by demanding that the unions get off the fence and take action. You would have heard Dennis Keane argue that if the union leaderships refuse to act that trade unionists should organise action from below.

BUT and this is IMPORTANT: if the residents and campaigners in Fingal had not begun the blockades and maintained them then the campaign would now be dead along with the issue.

The strength of the campaign is mass non-payment just as it was during the water tax and the poll tax struggles. Fingal's attempt to stop collecting non-payers bins was a direct assault on the campaign. That assault had to be repelled by the communities.

Working class communities standing up for themselves are what frightened the establishment into jailing the Socialist Party representatives. It is the blockades that have made this into a national issue and it is the blockades that have let us reach a situation where the likes of Begg have to break cover to denounce us.

Now if you have constructive advice to offer, lets hear it. And lets be clear, a small protest down at ICTU isn't going to change anything. The blockades put much more pressure on the unions than a lobby ever could.

author by busy beepublication date Thu Sep 25, 2003 15:26author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I suppose its only a matter of time before DeRossa sticks his nose in against the protests, but he seems to be keeping very quiet so far. Is he waiting for us to be softened up before he delivers the coup-de-grace?

author by Press Releasepublication date Thu Sep 25, 2003 15:39author address author phone Report this post to the editors


Fingal County Council is pleased to announce that normal refuse collection service has been restored to 60,000 homes in the Fingal area. Five of the six electoral areas in Fingal have had their normal rubbish collection and we have also completed clearing any backlog created by the protesters in these areas.

These areas include Balbriggan, Swords, Howth, Malahide, Portmarnock, Skerries and Castleknock.

Service continues to be disrupted for approximately 4,500 homes, primarily in the Mulhuddart area. We are aware from the high volume of calls to our Environment Department that the majority of residents in this area have tagged their bin and are requesting a service. We apologise to these residents for the disruption which is beyond our control.

We would appeal to these residents to contact either their local residents association or Fingal County Council with suggestions has to how full refuse collection might be restored. In the meantime, every effort is being made to continue collecting as many bins as possible in the Mulhuddart area.

We would like to advise these residents that they can dispose of their rubbish in our landfill in Balleally, Lusk. The charge per car is €8 and we will reimburse them with a bin tag worth €5 for future use. We would also encourage any residents who are eligible for a waiver to apply as soon as possible. The approximate turn around time for processing applications is 2 weeks.


author by Mikepublication date Thu Sep 25, 2003 15:50author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Yes Larry I do have some advice, but before I do, I would just like to mention what I saw at the protest. With the exception of Mick O Reilly the speakers were all Socialist Party affiliates, either nationally or internationally. Where were the ordinary punters? Maybe you stuck one on the end cause I went home went the SSP speaker got up to tell us of the thousands that were watching what was happening. I had already had enough of Dave Nellist, meaningless and wasteful tosh.

So useful advice. Yes give the unions a list of concrete demands (take action is as vague as it gets and can mean anything even Begg's comments). convincing local workers is good but you have to challenge the leadership. We have had over 16 years of Social Partnership were the leadership has rarely been challenged and this has been falsely counterposed to action from below.

So how about it? What do you mean when you call on SIPTU to take action? I mean them to actively encourage workers to lift all bins, by making it union policy and publicly calling on workers to lift all bins. BUt given that the service charges (not the double taxation) are the preparation for a privatised service and SIPTU will be involved in pushing through the privatisation they probably won't do much. But if we don't challenge them ever (but instead invite them to share anti-globalisation platforms and take partnership off the agenda of the Irish Social Forum)they will get away with it.

author by L. Larrypublication date Thu Sep 25, 2003 16:13author address author phone Report this post to the editors

So in other words, Mike, no you don't have any constructive advice.

You start by making incorrect and misleading statements about who the platform speakers were at the protest. In fact three of the eight platform speakers were members of the Socialist Party (and one of the two international speakers is a member of a group linked to the SP). Those three included the Secretary of the Fingal campaign and the President of the CPSU. This at a rally called to demand the release from prison of two Socialist Party public representatives!

After you have finished with that sectarian red herring, you follow it up by offering "advice" that in so far as it has any practical application just echoes what the campaign has been arguing anyway.

The campaign has been arguing that the unions need to give the bin workers the backing they need to lift all bins. It has been arguing that from the start and it has been doing its best to actually make links with the bin workers at the same time. Of course, if you were actually involved in the campaigns, rather than carping from the sidelines you would know all that.

Predictably you fail to engage with or answer in any way the key point that without the blockades the campaign would already be dead. The blockades have made this a real issue. The blockades have put more pressure on the unions than any number of lobbies.

Now again I put it to you: constructive advice is welcome. Carping is not.

author by Orla Ni Chomhraipublication date Thu Sep 25, 2003 17:35author address author phone Report this post to the editors

On 2FM this afternoon the DJ said that workers in Limerick had voted to go on strike. This has something to do with the bin-tax, but I am not sure which workers (bin-workers?) and what exactly the list of demands are. I don't know whether this is a campaign getting going in Limerick or a solidarity strike.

Also I was listening to Lyric FM radio and there was a hilarious add from Fingal County Council about their waste collection. Towards the end it said something about working with the community!

I noticed from their statement above they say

Collect the bins!


author by sp - sppublication date Thu Sep 25, 2003 22:09author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The SSP speaker is not affiliated to the socialist party in ireland (cwi) she had worked with joe on another issue and wanted to show support.

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