Sight, smells of garbage strike to continue until at least Thurs., Greek union says

26 June 2017
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A union representing contract sanitation workers on Sunday said a garbage strike throughout the country will continue at least until Thursday, after rejecting a latest compromise offer by the interior ministry.
The relevant ministry, Greece’s centralized system, oversees employment contracts extending as far down as basic municipal staff.
The decision by the union, POE-OTA, comes hours after another union of local government and municipal staff, called POP-OTA, said the industrial action was suspended.
The images and smell of tons of rubbish piled around trash bins amid the summer heat has generated a political firestorm in the country, with some municipalities warning that they’ll turn to private contractors to pick up the trash. The latter prospect was, up until recently, “taboo” in a country where the state retained the dominant role in providing most social services.
The union wants sanitation workers hired on an eight-month contract to be given permanent employment status.
Garbage strikes have been a more-or-less frequent phenomenon in Greece over recent decades due to a habitual shortage of sanitation workers and unions’ consistent demands for hirings and pay raises.
Critics, however, have pointed out that repeated waves of hirings, and specifically for garbage collection and disposal, were quickly turned into desk jobs at various municipality-affiliated services, as part of a clientelist mentality.

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