Anarchist News

No 29

The Bin Tax & Privatisation

It is no secret that the government wants to privatise the bin service in Dublin. The service has already been privatised in thirty-seven Local Authorities around the country. Although some particularly treacherous Trade Union bureaucrats have tried to claim that the tactics of the campaign against the bin tax will lead to privatisation, this is absurd. Firstly, in every single one of the cases where the service has been privatised around the country, the bin tax was imposed before privatisation. Secondly, how the hell is the government going to be able to sell a service that nobody pays for? It is quite clear from the evidence that, once the government crushes resistance to the tax, privatisation is the next step.

Privatisation will be a disaster for workers and communities alike. Communities will see charges rising through the roof. This has already happened in Sligo where the charges are now 540 euros per year, with no waiver system. Workers will see attacks on their pay and conditions, short-term contracts and the gradual replacement of their jobs with 'yellow-pack' jobs. Privatised Oxigen workers have already been forced to strike to even win union recognition - if privatisation is brought in this could soon be the situation for all bin workers.

Opposition to privatisation has always been a major part of the campaign against the bin tax. We have always argued that, if the bin tax is defeated, the council will have to roll back their plans for privatisation. The campaign has been running for 3 years now, during which time we built up levels of non-payment to levels as high as 80% in working class areas. Then the council introduced their policy of non-collection. The campaign realised that, if they were allowed to get away with it, non-payment would collapse, as people simply can't leave uncollected bins lying about the place for weeks on end. Therefore we mounted blockades on trucks and depots across the city to demand the end to non-collection.

The blockades were extremely effective, especially since they were supported by the workers who generally refused to cross them. However, the state responded with a ridiculous level of repression and has now jailed over 20 residents for taking part in these protests. This has meant that many people are now too terrified to take part in these blockades. At this stage it is likely that the only people who have the power to stand up to non-collection are the bin workers themselves. If they had the courage to refuse to implement the policy of non-collection, the campaign would be able to build up non-payment figures in a short time and finally defeat this double tax, putting privatisation firmly off the agenda in the process. If, on the other hand, the bin workers do implement non-collection, the campaign will probably be defeated and privatisation will quickly follow. In a couple of years time, council bin workers could find themselves striking for the right to even be in a union, as the Oxigen workers have had to do.

Unfortunately, it is very unlikely that the union leadership will put up anything of a fight. They have become too cosy with the government and IBEC through social partnership and have lost the habit of fighting. The only people who have a realistic chance of fighting privatisation are the bin workers themselves. However, if they wait too long before taking a stand they could find themselves fighting alone. If they were to take a stand now and refuse to implement non-collection they will find a huge level of support in the communities and they will have the full backing of the anti-bin tax campaign which will fight alongside them against privatisation and against the bin tax.


This article is from Anarchist News No 29

Sunday Independent claims anarchists are 'infiltrating' bin tax campaign
The mouthpiece of millionaire Tony O'Reilly, the Sunday Independent, got terribly excited when it 'discovered' there were anarchists involved in the bin tax campaign
Service Charges Taking from the poor to give to the rich
One of the main reasons that we are fighting against the bin tax is because it is another attempt to transfer wealth from workers to the rich
Government announces new 'turd tax'
Minister for the environment Martin Cullen today announced a new tax on visits to the toilet, which has already been dubbed the 'turd tax'.
Anarchists, the bin tax & direct action
There are many political groups and individuals involved in the campaign against the bin tax. Many of them see the campaign as little more than a way of getting votes in the local elections of June 2004.
Cork Against the Bin Tax
The campaign in Cork and contact detials for anarchists active in the campaign in Dublin

 

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