Local authority union federation POE-OTA decides to continue strikes as rubbish piles up

Greece’s local authority staff union federation POE-OTA on Sunday decided to continue labour action until next Thursday – as announced last week – and said it was not satisfied by the measures that Interior Minister Panos Skourletis has proposed for municipal contract workers in sanitation.

The decision leaves most Greek cities and towns with mounting piles of rubbish in the streets as temperatures climbed to a heady 37C on Sunday ahead of a heatwave forecast for next week.

An occupation of municipal garbage truck depots and landfills continued, while sanitation workers refused to collect refuse except in ‘high-risk’ areas such as hospitals, street markets, etc. The unions have announced a work stoppage from 11:00 until the end of the shift on Monday and rallies to be held in larger cities throughout Greece.

Their rally in Athens will be held at 11:30 outside POE-OTA’s offices on Karaiskaki Square in Metaxourgio, followed by a march to Parliament and the administrative reconstruction ministry.

POE-OTA has also announced a 24-hour nationwide strike on Thursday and a protest rally outside its offices in Athens on the same day, starting at 10:30, followed by a march to Parliament and the Maximos Mansion.

The union federation intends to submit a proposal asking that all sanitation staff be offered permanent jobs. The ministry proposes that the temporary contracts of the roughly 6,100 contract workers be extended until such time as the public-sector staff selection authority ASEP announces the results of a process for the appointment of 2,500 permanent municipal sanitation workers. The ministry will also allowing municipalities to apply for additional hirings, after an assessment of their real needs.

The first cracks in the unity of municipal workers has appeared, however, after the POP-OTA union federation decided to suspend labour mobilisation by its members, finding that the Skourletis measures ensured continued work for contract staff.