FIFTY-two bin men have shared a windfall of just under €326,000 from their former council bosses for loss of overtime, the Irish Independent has learned.
The workers received the compensation -- averaging just over €6,000 per person -- after the waste management services of Cork County Council were sold to a private company earlier this year for €6m.
The bin men have since been redeployed to other areas of the council, including the anti-litter unit, new civic amenity sites and road and water services.
The €325,829 compensation deal was struck in the wake of negotiations at the Labour Relations Commission earlier this year.
It follows a similar payment to bin men at Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council earlier this year when 14 workers received cash averaging €16,897 for loss of bonus after its waste management services were also privatised.
Cork County Council last night said the money was compensation for "the loss of their regular rostered and recurring overtime".
A further 10 bin men employed by the local authority recently shared a redundancy package of nearly €1m after the privatisation.
Employers' group IBEC last night described the payment of compensation for the loss of overtime and bonuses as a "dangerous precedent".
It is expected that many cash-strapped county councils will have to negotiate deals with their employees before they attempt to privatise services in the future.
"The days of inflated compensation payments are over and cannot be afforded either by the private or public sector," IBEC director of industrial relations Brendan McGinty told the Irish Independent.
"Whilst it is not clear what levels of bonuses were earned annually by the bin men, the compensation amounts appear excessive, especially where those involved have retained their jobs."