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'Race to The Bottom' in waste collection has to end

Date Released: 11 September 2014

Mandatory Service Levels and Customer Charter for Waste Collectors to be introduced next year as Minister for the Environment warns waste collection companies they are in “the last chance saloon” with new reforms.

Speaking at the Environment Ireland Conference, Croke Park, on Thursday (11th September) Minister Kelly said: “We have moved in a relatively short space of time from a system in which municipal waste authorities had full control over the waste market, but were over-stretched and under-resourced to do the job and operate to the standards required under national and EU law, to a situation in which we have handed over responsibility to the private sector, without giving the State adequate levers with which to regulate how services are provided”.

He added: “The ‘Race to the Bottom’ is also directly contributing to a destabilising of the industrial relations situation in the waste sector – something that is benefitting neither customer, nor worker, nor the environment. I support the concept a statutory wage-setting mechanism for the industry to ensure stability, certainty and industrial peace. I know as recently as this week that Minister Nash’s Department of Jobs, Enterprise & Innovation has written to the Labour Court requesting examination of such a concept as part of the process around such agreements.

“However, if next year the level of compliance with the new reforms is not sufficient, then I am prepared to take steps next year to review the current regime and system and consider other market approaches that can deliver the necessary improvements for all household waste collection markets in Ireland.

“In that regard, the waste industry needs to be clear though: the new regulatory framework is the “last chance saloon” for the industry to demonstrate that they can work individually and collectively to improve performance, standards and levels of service and compliance records. I will give consideration to introducing a different market structure in the future if this does not occur”.
 


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