Impasse in Athens sanitation workers’ dispute

Athens could face problems with its trash collections over the next few days due to a dispute between short-term municipal contract workers and Mayor Giorgos Kaminis, who likened the process to ?slave bargaining.?

City of Athens employees whose short-term contracts have expired are staging a picket outside City Hall and are also blocking the exit to the depot where the municipality?s trash trucks are located.

They are protesting Kaminis?s refusal to renew their contracts or to make their positions permanent. The mayor, who says that he is simply following the law, is preparing to announce the hiring of 800 new employees on short-term contracts.

The law on short-term contracts in the public sector prevents civil servants for immediately reapplying for a job. It was designed so that governments or local authorities could not make permanent hirings through the back door.

Kaminis said the whole process was tantamount to ?slave bargaining? and he said he was committed to pressing for a change in the law so that the contract workers who remain without a job have a better shot at gaining another position in the civil service.

?I am not opposed to these people but I do not want to make promises that I cannot keep and to prolong an unacceptable situation,? he told Skai TV.

The mayor added that he had to proceed with new hirings to ensure that the trash collections in the capital resume normally.

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