Friday 20 September 2019

Waste operators accused 'masked men' of attacking their bin trucks

Brian Byrne

MASKED men have been accused of attacking waste collection trucks in an ongoing dispute over pay cuts at one of the country’s largest recycling companies.

Management at Greyhound Household claimed four separate attacks have taken place within the last month in the Dublin area, including an incident last Tuesday in Cabra in which a masked man smashed the windscreen of a vehicle using a claw hammer.

In three earlier incidents in Clontarf, Coolock and Finglas, chief executive Michael Buckley said assailants attempted to cut wires at the back of the vehicles attached to an emergency stop button, and on two occasions caused equipment to shut down. He said all incidents had been reported to the Gardai.

It’s believed the attacks may have been sparked by the ongoing dispute between management and SIPTU workers, who rejected a 32pc pay cut.

Management wants to bring staff in the Dublin City Council area, which it said are paid 60pc more than the industry average, closer in line with the rates it pays staff in the greater Dublin area.

Mr Buckley said the situation had “escalated” this week. In a statement released to customers yesterday, management stated bin collections had been delayed in the Artane, Coolock, Marino and Killester areas due to “the harassment and abuse of our collection crews”.

It stated: “We cannot collect your bins safely because this group of SIPTU picketers are deliberately following behind our trucks in groups of cars and stopping us from exiting our vehicles to collect your bins.

“The harassment and abuse of our collection crews has resulted in us having to stop collecting from your area this morning in order to defuse the situation.”

Greyhound Household collects over half of all household waste in Dublin, and has 110,000 customers in the Dublin City Council area alone since it took over the council’s domestic waste collection in January 2012.

Mr Buckley said the company had inherited a “legacy issue” in which 25pc of staff do not turn up for work on a daily basis, and said contractors have had to be hired to meet a shortfall of 25pc of waste collection which staff have consistently failed to meet.

Last month, the High Court granted a temporary injunction preventing workers blocking trucks entering and leaving the company’s facility on Crag Avenue in Clondalkin.

The court heard workers placed a blockade outside the premises as part of a dispute with their employer over pay.

Gardai said they were aware of an incident which had taken place yesterday involving the company, but that no complaint had been received.

A spokesperson from SIPTU declined to comment on the matter when contacted by the Irish Independent yesterday.

Irish Independent

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