Trash piling up on streets of Thessaloniki as striking workers dig in their heels

Trash piling up on streets of Thessaloniki as striking workers dig in their heels

Trash has piled up on the streets of the northern port city of Thessaloniki and will continue to do so after municipal employees on Tuesday decided to escalate their protest action by extending a three-day strike that began on Monday until the end of the week.

Among other complaints, the union representing the municipal workers claims that its members are owed backpay and are inadequately supplied with personal protective equipment, and having to fend for their own safety on the job.

Despite assurances at Tuesday’s meeting from the general secretary of the Thessaloniki municipal authority, Nikos Liakopoulos, that their demands would be addressed, the union said that it will escalate its action unless it receives these assurances in writing. It is due to reconvene on Friday to discuss the way forward.

“From a total of 2,300 Union of Thessaloniki Municipal Workers’ members, 124 voted in favor of leaving the country’s second-largest city without trash collection services,” the northern port city’s mayor, Konstantinos Zervas, said in comments following the meeting.

“We have already satisfied all of their demands with regard to supplying PPE, paying overtime and settling outstanding debts from previous administrations. It is clear, however, that there are certain people – a few – who want to serve petty political interests and disregard the public interest,” Zervas added.

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