Winnipeg city councillors are voting on a proposal to contract out waste collection in southwest Winnipeg to the lowest bidder among five private companies. Garbage collection services have already been privatized in about 60 per cent of the city, on the north side of Winnipeg. City crews still collect garbage on the south side of the city, and city workers are responsible for most of the auto-bin containers in central areas of the city.
Privatizing all collection in the city has been studied twice and debated on and off for the past six years. A report tabled at city hall earlier this year estimated privatizing the work would save the city around $2 million per year, mostly through personnel and equipment costs.
The collectors argue that privatizing services would take away jobs, create a monopoly and won’t necessarily result in savings for the city. If the plan is approved, about 70 employees of the city’s solid-waste division would be transferred into vacant jobs in other city departments. Three dozen contract employees who basically work full-time could end up losing their jobs.