POE-OTA union ends 11-day sanitation workers strike; rubbish collection begins

The POE-OTA trade union federation on Thursday voted to end an 11-day strike by contract workers in municipal sanitation services throughout the country, during which strikers had barred access to landfills and garbage-truck depots.

Following the decision, sanitation crews are expected to immediately start the difficult job of collecting the mountains of rubbish that have built up over the last few days, especially in major urban centres, even as temperatures in Greece are set to soar. The work of fully clearing the accumulated refuse is expected to take at least two or three days.

The decision was taken by the POE-OTA Executive Committee but the question of continuing labour action will be revisited at a General Council meeting at a date that has not yet been decided, since no proposal achieved the required absolute majority during Thursday’s vote.

The proposal to end the strike received the most support with five votes, while the remaining votes were split between two proposals to continue strike action, one by factions affiliated to the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) and the other affiliated to the Popular Union (LAE) party.

POE-OTA is a trade union federation representing the great majority of Greek local authority staff.