Article from the Mar. 2005 issue of the Socialist
newspaper of the Socialist Party, Irish section of the CWI
Scrap the bin tax!
NO! to double taxes
by Kevin McLoughlin
THE BIN charges are burning a hole in the wage packets of working class people. At the heart of the issue is this country's rip-off taxation system and the attempts of the government to privatise these public services so their rich business friends can make super profits.
The last few years have seen a tax bonanza for big business. In a decade, tax on profits has been cut from 50% to 12.5% while most workers are still paying tax at 42%! The government are intent on imposing more local taxation to shift the tax burden even more on to the shoulders of working class people, with plans in the pipeline for the re-introduction of water charges.
It is vital that anti-bin activists defend the demands on which the anti water charges and anti bin tax campaigns were established. That is - scrap local service charges, as they are double taxation; that privatised local services should be taken back under public control and run by local authorities; local services should be funded by central government and for a progressive tax system that shifts the tax burden onto big business.
A comment by Independent Councillor Joan Collins on RTE Radio 1 to the effect that local charges should be abolished even if that meant a slight increase in PAYE tax rates was a mistake. We don't accept that there is a lack of cash for the funding of local services or any legitimacy to the argument that working class people should have to pay more tax. It is important that the principled opposition to local charges is maintained even, if the campaign of active opposition is diminishing at this stage. In Britain, in a number of areas, the waste service has been re-incorporated into the council services because of the crisis created through privatisation.
For now, the main focus must be on organising active opposition to non-collection of the bins of non-payers. This is likely to happen in Dublin City Council areas and Dun Laoghaire / Rathdown over the next months. The recent vote of Dublin City Council that all bins should be collected unfortunately will have little significance, as the operation of the service is controlled by the city manager.
It is very important that local protests are organised with a view to getting all bins collected and in order to make the work of the council as difficult as possible. Council officials will be given confidence to continue their attacks on the communities unless they are met with serious resistance. When they attempt to impose non-collection, it is important that the communities affected are not left to fight on their own but that Anti-Bin Tax Campaigns in other areas also engage in co-ordinated action to maximise pressure on the councils.
Rubbish climbdown in Cork
by David Convery
CORK CITY Council has been refusing to collect thousands of black bags of rubbish left on the streets since the beginning of the year. The rubbish began to pile up after the Council introduced its new bin charge system, which means that householders have to pay €255 a year plus €5 every time they put their bin out.
However, in early March the arrogant City Manager Joe Gavin made a dramatic climb down and claimed that all black bags left on the streets would be collected on a weekly basis.
This climb down followed a demonstration against the increased charges and the cuts in the waiver system, an intervention by the Irish Medical Organisation (IMO) and weeks of householders contacting the local radio phone-in show complaining at the Council's new policy. The IMO stated that the large amounts of waste on the streets posed a major health hazard and the city's management were obviously embarrassed when Sky News showed piles of rotting waste in the European Capital of Culture.
So now, the Council are collecting the rubbish of those who pay the bin charges and also any black bags that are just left out for collection. The City Council's refuse policy is now a farce and the Socialist Party is calling for the bin charges to be scrapped.