PANDA has broken a promise to its customers in increasing its bin tag prices but has not broken the contract with the local authority signed when the bin collection service in Fingal was sold to the company.
That was the view expressed by Fingal County Council in response to a question on the issue from Cllr. David McGuinness (FF). He asked whether ' recent announcements by Panda, that the cost of lifting bins is increasing, is in breach of the contract signed by Fingal County Council with Panda?' But the council said: ' The increased cost of lifting the bins implemented by Panda on June 1 is not in breach of the Asset Purchase Agreement (i.e. contract) between the Council and Panda. 'It is, however, in breach of the promise they made to customers in October last year.' 'Upon learning of the proposed price increase, the council wrote to Panda in June this year requesting them honour their promise of a price freeze till the end of 2012 and disputing justification for the price increase based on the increase in the landfill levy as the levy increase had been announced early in 2011.' Back in July, county manager, David O'Connor confirmed the company had 'committed to not increasing costs until October at least' and said the new charges for bin tags were 'not acceptable'. He said the council lobbied against the increase in charges but did not have the power to stop them. Mr. O'Connor also rejected the company's assertions that the increases were due to unpredictable rises in landfill charges. He said those increases in landfill charged were predicted at the time of the sale of the business and the company was 'fully aware' they were on the way and said at the time they would lobby against them. The county manager said the council's influence on the company was 'practically none' and the decision to increase the bin tag prices was a 'unilateral' one on behalf of Panda and was done without any consultation with the council.