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Athens News Agency: News in English, 06-04-11

Athens News Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Gov't cites 'political motives' as behind garbage strike

  • [01] Gov't cites 'political motives' as behind garbage strike

    The government spokesman on Tuesday directly questioned the motives behind an ongoing national garbage strike by municipal workers, more-or-less echoing other comments in the press and by other government officials who referred to "political expediencies" as generating the industrial action.

    "As a citizen I can only ask why certain groups active in this specific field (unionised municipal workers) insist on striking when the government has already satisfied 11 of their long-standing demands, and has also submitted a specific proposal for solving an issue that for 20 years - and despite whatever pressure - no one would even sit down and discuss," alternate spokesman Evangelos Antonaros rhetorically asked during his regular press briefing.

    He added that a process to identify which occupations can qualify for inclusion in the "heavy and hazardous" category will be completed by the end of May, "therefore, continuing the strike is unfounded and causes problems for public health, while at the same time raising questions over the motives of those continuing this mobilisation."


    On his part, Interior Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos issued an appeal to the local government workers' union, POE-OTA, to end the week-long strike and to participate in a two-month dialogue that will decide what occupations can be added to the "heavy and hazardous" category, a development would translate into extra pay and earlier retirement.

    Pavlopoulos made the statement after attending an Inner Cabinet meeting at the premier's office, where he again supported adding certain jobs to the category.

    Additionally, he underlined that garbage collection is underway around the Greek capital, whereas almost a dozen demands by the union have been met over the last two years.

    Pavlopoulos also echoed the government spokesman's comments from a day earlier, saying the government takes all necessary measures for the protection of public health and the rights of the workers.

    Meanwhile, garbage collection was also underway in certain parts of the northern port city of Thessaloniki, although rubbish heaps throughout the area were still evident on numerous streets.

    The union is demanding that several categories of municipal workers, including electricians, plumbers, water works employees, road crews etc, be considered "heavy and hazardous" occupations, along with pay hikes, permanent status for thousands of contract workers and even promises to exclude private companies from refuse collection.

    Caption: Rubbish piled up on Athens' streets, even near the landmark Acropolis on Monday, April 10, 2006, due to a nationwide strike over the past week by municipal workers. ANA-MPA photo / S. Pantzartzi.

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