Cyprus Mail

Strovolos binmen strike comes to temporary end

Binmen outside the municipality on Monday morning (Photo Christos Theodorides)

After a strike by dustmen which lasted from Thursday until Monday morning, the Strovolos municipality at noon reached an agreement with the unions, ending the work stoppage for now.

According to an announcement by the municipality, the strike is over with immediate effect and the workers have agreed to collect the rubbish that has accumulated during the days they have not worked.

The municipality will not proceed with awarding a tender for the privatisation of rubbish collection services until October 31, until when an intensive dialogue between the municipality and the unions will take place.

On Monday morning, before the decision was taken, the striking workers were seen protesting outside the building.

“I saw quite a lot of them sitting on the stairs of the municipality,” Maria Lambrou, who passed by on her way to work at around 9.30am, reported. “They were making it hard for people to enter the building.”

According to the unions, during the strike on Friday, the municipality bought bin collection services from the private sector without the approval of the municipal council.

Binmen had previously accused the municipality of privatising rubbish collection.

A first strike, lasting 24 hours, took place on June 21 and ended in a deadlock when the mayor insisted on privatising rubbish collection services.

Unions had previously mentioned that this leads to lower recruitment of municipal binmen as well as lower salaries and possible illegal employment because some companies do not provide collective agreements to their employees.

Trade unions Sek and Peo have been holding meetings in all cities for months in an attempt to convince municipalities to stop giving work to private companies.

A solution the unions offered to reduce costs and increase efficiency has been to cluster garbage collection services among neighbouring municipalities.

This policy began with the economic crisis, when vacant positions would not be filled, resulting in crews being unable to cope with the workload.

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