Government, unions in deadlock over sanitation workers´ strike as temperatures soar

Tuesday, June 27th, 2017
Last Update: 10:39

Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has extended an invitation to trade unionists in the POE-OTA union federation, which represents the majority of local authority workers, to a meeting at the Maximos Mansion on Tuesday morning at 10:00.

According to an announcement from the prime minister΄s press office, the invitation was sent in order to try and find a solution that addresses the demands of municipal sanitation workers and avoids dangers to public health as a result of lengthy periods of uncollected refuse combined with the high temperatures expected in the coming days, AMNA reported.

The government΄s proposals for resolving the issues involving temporary contract workers employed in Greek municipality sanitation services failed to convince the municipal workers΄ union federation POE-OTA, which decided to continue strike action on Monday. Commenting on POE-OTA΄s demands, Interior Minister Panos Skourletis announced that he would be tabling relevant legislation later the same day while noting that the unions΄ demands that all contract workers in municipal sanitation services be given permanent jobs "led nowhere" in relation to the decisions of the Council of State on the issue.

A meeting of the Central Union of Municipalities of Greece (KEDE) board ended late on Monday afternoon after a lengthy discussion on the interior ministry΄s proposed legislation.

A delegation from KEDE΄s board is due to meet Skourletis and convey KEDE΄s doubts about the proposed measures, whether they are fully constitutional and whether they can be implemented.

Municipalities agree with a proposal for the hiring of permanent sanitation workers via the public-sector staff selection authority ASEP and the time-frames suggested in the minister΄s proposals - including an extension of the contracts of current staff by a further eight months until the ASEP process is complete.

It has suggested that existing contract workers be given bonus points in the ASEP process since they were originally hired using an ASEP-type evaluation and have been employed for more than 24 months.

The minister΄s proposed legislation has been rejected by POE-OTA, which represents the majority of municipal workers. The union federation has decided to continue strike action that has disrupted refuse collection throughout the country, leaving rubbish piled high in the streets as temperatures soar and Greece enters the summer΄s first heatwave.

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