Union voices opposition to outsourcing

Councillors voted to outsource bin collections.
Councillors voted to outsource bin collections.

NIPSA has reacted angrily to the decision by Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council to move ahead with the further privatisation of bin collection services across the borough.

In a closed committee session on Monday evening, councillors voted in favour of plans to outsource the brown bin collection in Antrim and the black bin collections in Newtownabbey.

NIPSA has voiced its unequivocal opposition to the move towards further privatisation from the onset and have made clear their position that services should be retained and delivered in-house.

The council have stated that efficiency savings of £400,000 will be realised if the plans to outsource are implemented.

NIPSA has rejected that claim and a NIPSA source stated: ​“Whilst the council have made claims to excessive efficiency savings, it must be recognised that these are no more than projected savings and aspirational rather than actual savings.

“£400,000 in efficiency savings is not the fact of the matter and any amount in savings should be balanced against a number of other factors.

“The council stated that the driver for the move is to allow workers to avail of severance packages – in essence that means taking decent, reasonably paid, pensioned, permanent employment and replacing that with low paid much more precarious jobs – that cannot be good for employment in the borough overall, given the recent job losses in manufacturing and the gas industry.”

The NIPSA spokesperson added: “Our experience of privatised public services also tells us that it is not always a good experience for the workforce or the service delivery alike.

“​We have held recent talks with senior management over recent days and these will continue in the weeks ahead, following Monday’s decision.

“Whilst the council voted in favour of the move, what is clear is that a sizeable minority voted against and this coupled with the opposition within the workforce and the wider community, there are serious concerns about the move towards privatisation.

“NIPSA will continue to meet with management, politicians and also maintain its engagement with the workforce and wider community in opposition to the decision.”