Plea for an end to dispute that has disrupted bin collections

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Two local politicians have called for an end to the ongoing dispute between council workers and management that has caused serious disruption to bin collections.

Services have been disrupted across Newtownabbey following a row between refuse collection staff and Cleansing Department management.

While the local authority says the ongoing disruption on the ground “is in the context of the council addressing industrial relations issues”, claims have been made that workers have raised health and safety concerns about having to empty damaged bins.

South Antrim MLA Paul Girvan, a former councillor, said his Ballyclare office has received “numerous complaints” about bins not being collected over the past couple of weeks.

“If there is a dispute between staff and management and if there is an issue, there has to be a better way to resolve it. It shouldn’t be members of the public who suffer. They need to get this issue sorted out,” the DUP man said.

The leader of the UUP group on Antrim and Newtownabbey Council, Alderman Mark Cosgrove, called on any staff with grievances to raise them through “the proper channels.”

“Any and all staffing issues that arise must not affect our rate paying customers who rely on us to deliver high quality services on their behalf,” he told the Times.

“With several hundred staff there will always be Human Resources matters to work through, but I would urge any aggrieved parties to do so through the proper channels in a constructive manner. In a modern, service-driven environment there is no other way to deal with such matters.

“The ratepayers are our customers and we have a fantastic group of staff who deliver the various services we provide. It is vital that we all work as a coherent team to ensure that those services are delivered in a high quality, seamless way.”

Meanwhile, the Glengormley representative welcomed this week’s decision by the Operations Committee to address concerns about damaged bins by investing in 1,000 new black bins “to ensure that the stock we hold meets the highest quality standards.”

Replacement bins are available free of charge for a limited time by contacting the council on 028 9034 0056/57 (Newtownabbey area) or 028 9446 3113 (Antrim area).

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