Garbage collectors to continue strike action through Thursday

Garbage collectors to continue strike action through Thursday

As temperatures rise, the union of municipal sanitation workers said on Sunday that staff will continue protest action through Thursday after deeming a government proposal to break the deadlock inadequate.

The continued walkouts will add to the mounds of trash on the streets of Athens and other cities with the situation expected to get progressively worse as temperatures rise, with a heat wave forecast for the end of the week. 

Interior Minister Panos Skourletis sought to curb the crisis on Saturday by saying the government would bring legislation to Parliament on Monday, pledging permanent status for hundreds of workers on short-term contracts.

But before the bill could go to the House, the union representing municipal workers rejected it and confirmed its original plan to continue with strike action through Thursday.

The amendment the government being prepared by the government aimed to employ 2,500 local authority sanitation workers on short-term contracts on a permanent basis.

As it would take a few months before the competition for the jobs can be held, short-term job contracts were to be extended by six to eight months in the meantime.

The new jobs would be paid for from the municipal charges paid by citizens.

Some municipal authorities, such as Thessaloniki, have decided to tackle the problem by outsourcing garbage collection to private firms.

Skourletis on Saturday appealed to local mayors not to resort to this line of action, saying the dispute will be resolved in due course.

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