Piraeus garbage men end strike

Just as hundreds of tons of trash had begun to build up on the streets of Piraeus, refuse collectors called an end to their strike after the local municipality promised their jobs would not go to private companies. The announcement came as it was revealed that a pilot scheme whereby households pay for the trash they throw away would be put into place for the first time in Greece. Refuse collectors in Piraeus went on strike last Thursday when the municipality revealed that it would divide its sanitation services into two departments: road sweeping and trash collection. The employees reacted by starting rolling 24-hour strikes because they feared the move was a step toward road-sweeping contracts being awarded to a private company. The garbage men ended their strike yesterday afternoon after municipal officials assured them that no private firms would be involved and that the new road-sweeping service would employ either existing municipal employees or those hired through the process run by the Supreme Council for Personnel Selection (ASEP), the state body that handles applications for jobs in the public sector. Meanwhile, it was revealed that a pilot scheme involving 1,500 families in Elefsina, west of Athens, would begin next year whereby each household will pay municipal taxes in line with the amount of trash it throws away. The pay-as-you-throw scheme is currently being used by municipalities in 14 European Union member states but has never been tried before in Greece. Each household will be given garbage bags with a unique bar code so that they can be weighed and a record kept of what each family throws away.

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