The corporation's announcement that non-collection would start today in Ringsend appears to have been a lie. Bin workers collected bins as usual and a great local protest approached them and, since they were collecting all the bins, we merely talked to them for 15 minutes to exchange information and let them go about their jobs.
This morning the council announced that they would begin implementing non-collection of bins in the Ringsend area of the city. Anti-bin tax activists mobilised to blockade the trucks to force them to collect all the bins. We congregated at Ringsend Church at 8:30. There were about 30 people present, the vast majority of whom were local women.
I was surprised to see Sinn Fein TD Daithi Doolin there, since I didn't expect to see SF TDs taking part in direct action. Daithi addressed the crowd (and a couple of radio journalists present) to let us know that they had been talking to the council workers and had been informed that all the bins would indeed be collected today, which contradicted the corpo statements that had been announced on all the radio stations earlier in the morning.
As the bins were indeed being collected, it was announced that there was no point in blocking the workers from going about their jobs, and that we should instead walk down to where they were currently collecting and assure ourselves that what we had been told was true. We walked a few hundred metres to where the truck was emerging from a narrow side street and stopped in front of the truck.
The workers appeared to be, in general, very sympathetic and not hostile in any way. They confirmed that, as far as they knew, they would be collecting all the bins that day and had received no special instructions. During the course of the conversation it became clear that they were under considerable pressure from management in the council and were seriously constrained in what they could do themselves. One worker shied away from a press camera saying "no photos, I'm in enough trouble up there as it is, I'm hanging onto this job by the skin of my teeth." One of the workers, an IMPACT member, referred to the letter that all IMPACT members had received from their union yesterday, instructing them to obey instructions from the council at all costs, and adding in a few scurrillous scare stories. The worker expressed his disgust at the behaviour of his union. A couple of the protestors told him that he should demand a branch meeting and that they should press for action. However, it seemed clear to me that the workforce would like to act but absolutely lacks the confidence to take any action without overwhelming pressure from outside.
After our conversation with the bin workers it was announced that we would now leave and reconvene for another protest in a couple of days time. Gradually we dispersed in little groups, chatting among ourselves. The mood on the protest was remarkably good and upbeat and it was really heartening to see that probably 25 of the 30 or so protestors were local women, ready to take part in direct action. When we got back to the Church there was a group of half a dozen or so women waiting there, who had had to drop their kids to school and got there late. They seemed slightly disappointed to have missed the whole thing, but said that they would be back again.
More on the Bin Tax
Indymedia.ie discussion of this report
[A Personal report from a Workers Solidarity Movement member, these reports are posted to the Ainriail list when first written]