Greek Municipal Workers Likely to Escalate Strike Beyond Thursday

The municipal workers union POE-OTA are to decide whether to continue their strike, threatening not collect the garbage from city streets beyond Thursday unless their demands are met by the Ministry of the Interior.

POE-OTA demands that contract municipal workers should not be dismissed after their contracts end and their contracts to become indefinite. This was after the ministry had announced a few weeks ago that contracts of temporary municipal workers will be renewed. However, the Court of Audit ruled that extension of contracts without prior approval by the Supreme Council for Civil Personnel Selection (ASEP) is unconstitutional.

Representatives of municipal workers met with Minister of the Interior Panos Skourletis on Tuesday and left the meeting saying that they did not get a satisfying answer to their demand.

“The left-wing government is sacking 10,000 people. He (the minister) was committed that immediately following the publication of the Court of Audit’s decision that the extension of contracts for cleaners would be unconstitutional, he would have prepared legislation to resolve the matter so that people stay in their jobs . But now they say they will try to solve the issue with two-month contracts,” chairman of the POE-OTA executive committee Nikos Trakas told Kathimerini newspaper.

The unionist blamed the government for the complication because Skourletis promised to extend the contracts without having secured the way it will be done. “Three consecutive contract extensions for street cleaners have been made so far, creating expectations for workers, who believed that they will be able to get by with their wages, and now they are firing them,” Trakas said.

Since Monday, POE-OTA have occupied the city garbage truck depots by blocking the entry and exit of the waste trucks, while a general strike is scheduled for Thursday. Municipal workers will have a protest rally at 10:30 am on Thursday at Karaiskaki Square in central Athens. Then they will decide whether they continue the strike.