Talks between Interior Minister Panos Skourletis and unionists representing striking municipal garbage collectors failed to yield a compromise on Monday as a prosecutor launched an investigation into whether anyone should be charged over the piles of rotting trash on city streets.
After unionists had rejected Skourletis's proposal to break the deadlock, the minister rejected their proposal too.
The government's proposal, Skourletis said, aimed to "solve the workers' problem while at the same time securing the public and social nature of municipal sanitation services."
As for the unionists' proposal, Skourletis said it could not "stand" in view of a recent court ruling banning the extension of short-term state employment contracts.
However the minister did not rule out the possibility of the ministry including in its next proposal the unionists' demand for the 45-year age limit not to apply in a competition for permanent jobs, as many of the contract workers are above that age and would be excluded.
The leader of the union, Nikos Trakas, insisted on a meeting with Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras. His union wants all contract workers to be hired permanently via a state competition.
"Gerovasili and Tsipras said they would take care of workers," Trakas told Skai television channel, referring to the premier and to the administrative reform minister Olga Gerovasili.