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Bin strike threat is lifted as Siptu agrees new deal

HOUSEHOLDERS in Dublin can breathe a sigh of relief after the threat of a bin strike was lifted.

Siptu had threatened industrial action over a decision by Dun Laoghaire/Rathdown County Council to outsource its bin collection service to private firm Panda.

The council argued it had to outsource to stem losses estimated at €3.5m for this year.

Siptu has now accepted proposals to end the row.

The local authority will offer a private bin service to most householders from Monday.

However, as a result of the agreement with Siptu, the council will continue to collect rubbish from a small number of customers.

The dispute involved as many as 40 binmen, many of whom will now be redeployed to other services within the local authority.

About 25 binmen will continue to work in waste collection.

In a statement, the council said it was "delighted" to announce the workers had accepted the proposals.

"Panda will commence collecting waste from existing council customers from (Monday).

"The council will continue to provide a service to a small number of households who currently have a bagged household waste service," it added.

"The redeployment of staff... will result in the delivery of improved council services in the areas of street cleansing, water and waste services, transportation and parks."

It said that, until January 2011, the new service would remain free to all domestic households who currently avail of the council's bin collection service.

From next February, fixed, lift and weight charges will apply.

However, the charges will be 20pc cheaper than those currently applied by the council and will remain at this level until at least 2014.

Siptu members voted by a large majority for proposals put forward by the Labour Relations Commission following talks last week.

The union insisted that workers would not be paid a redundancy and compensation package.

The council's customer base has shrunk from 64,000 in 2006 to 18,500 at present.

Siptu had accused Dun Laoghaire County Manager Owen Keegan of breaching agreements, including the Croke Park public sector agreement, to maintain direct labour.

It had claimed that where waste collection is privatised, the cost to consumers increases rapidly after initial reductions.

Siptu had also accused private firms of cherry-picking profitable routes, adding that householders living in remote locations or on unprofitable routes may be left to dispose of their own refuse.