Progress made in talks between PM, municipal workers’ union


Talks between Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, Interior Minister Panos Skourletis and representatives of the POE-OTA union of municipal employees over an ongoing strike by sanitation workers went “very well,” union chief Nikos Trakas said coming out of the Maximos Mansion on Tuesday morning.

“New proposals were brought to the table and discussed,” the chief of the union that is demanding the permanent hiring of some 6,500 fixed-term contract workers, said. “We will go to the executive committee and make a decision.”

According to the Athens-Macedonia News Agency (ANA-MPA), Tsipras conceded to a demand that contract workers over the age of 45 be eligible to compete for a job in municipal sanitation services when these are proclaimed through the state’s ASEP hiring mechanism. This was one part of POE-OTA’s complaint, as the age limited precluded many of the 6,500 contract workers from seeking a permanent position.

The prime minister, however, did not go so far as to promise that the contracts of these workers would be renewed – as POE-OTA demanded – stressing that this would be in violation of the Constitution and of Greece’s commitment to international creditors to curb civil service hirings.

POE-OTA started a strike last week that has resulted in thousands of tons of garbage building up on the streets of Athens and other parts of the country, posing a mounting health risk according to authorities, particularly amid rising temperatures.