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Paphos mayor says garbage collectors strike unjustified

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Paphos garbage collectors started a 24-hour works stoppage on Tuesday morning, protesting a decision to privatise the town’s waste management system.

Employees gathered outside the municipality at 8am, holding banners with slogans like “respect collective agreements”.

Paphos Mayor Phedonas Phedonos told the 30 or so protesters their action was not justified because nobody will be dismissed.

On the contrary, he said, 22 new jobs will be created by the private contractor.

Trade unions decided on the strike on February 18 after they had warned the municipality that they would protest against the measures.

The employees called on the city council to make other arrangements in consultation with the unions, with the aim of offering better quality services to residents.

The garbage collectors warned that this was merely a warning strike and they would step up measures if there was no change, although the municipality assured them nobody would  lose their job because of the outsourcing.

The decision to assign the waste disposal services to a private company was taken on November 21 last year, with ten out of 19 votes in favour, after the municipality presented a study that showed the privatisation would save a significant amount of money, 50 per cent of what it costs now.

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