Garbage trucks start clearing Thessaloniki streets

Striking garbage collectors got back on the job in Thessaloniki on Tuesday, clearing tons of trash that built up on the streets of the northern port city over the Easter holiday weekend.

Thessaloniki’s sanitation workers had been on partial strike from Friday through Monday over claims that they have not received overtime payments since November 2011 and that their wages were reduced in April as well. They worked their regular shifts throughout the holiday weekend, but refused to put in any overtime until their claims are acknowledged.

“I am hoping that within the next few hours, the city’s image will be reinstated,» the deputy mayor in charge of recycling and sanitation, Thanasis Papas, said on Tuesday morning, adding that «sanitation workers have suffered significant reductions to their salaries due to the application of the unified pay structure [in the civil service].”

Papas also said that this specific branch has certain «particularities» regarding its operation, which local authorities are looking to tender out to private firms.