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UPD Municipality worker, 62, dies of heart attack at work during heat wave

A municipality worker died of what it seems a heart arrest short after her shift as garbage collector had started at midnight Friday. Municipality workers union say that the woman had to work two shifts in less than 24 hours, something that the municipality confirmed later on Saturday. Speaking to media, her son said that she was looking exhausted before going to work.

It was short after midnight, when the 62-year-old mother of four fell uneasy, complained about strong pain in the chest.

Her colleagues tried to help her with first aid, called the ambulance.

The municipality worker was transferred to a hospital where doctors could only confirm her death.

“The real reasons for her death are not known, but first indications hint at a cardiac arrest,” media dealing with municipality issues reported.

The woman was a mother of four, among them a child with disabilities.

Municipality workers still have to deal with mountains of garbage after a strike that lasted 12 days. The strike ended on Thursday, estimations claimed that workers would need at least three days to remove tonnes of rotten rubbish from the streets of Athens and the suburbs.

The woman was initially a temporary worker at the Municipality of Zografou but received a permanent contract after a court decision.

The chairwoman of  the union of Zografou municipality workers said, they will do everything to help the family of the municipality worker. The chairwoman underlined the harsh conditions under which garbage collectors have to work especially after the long strike of temporary municipality cleaners.

A heat wave with extreme temperatures for the season and the region stroke Greece. On Friday, the first day of the heat wave, temperatures reached up to 45 degrees Celsius during the day in areas of the Greek capital. At night, it was an average of 37° – 38° C.

Authorities have warned citizens to take precaution measures and avoid hard work outdoors, also given the high levels of ozone that have been recorded daily since one week. A dreadful atmospheric cocktail for people with confirmed or hidden health problems.

Several municipality workers unions now blame the City of Zografou for the death of the municipality worker. “They assigned her to work two shifts in less than 24 hours, while they were urging citizens to be careful because of the heat wave” one of the unions said in a statement. The unions accuse the Municipality and the government (the mayor is from SYRIZA) that they put the workers’ lives at risk.

Unions say that a second shift for garbage collectors cannot start before 24 hours pass after the previous shift has ended.

Zografou Municipality confirmed that the woman’s “shift had started at 6:30 a.m. had ended at 9:30 a.m. Friday” and she was called to work again at midnight.

In contrast to initial media information the woman was working not as garbage collector but as a street cleaner emptying the street baskets from trash. Her next scheduled shift was early morning on Saturday, the municipality statement said adding an autopsy will be conducted to investigate the reasons for her death.

Speaking to media, her son said that she was called by the municipality to go to work “for a couple of hours.”

Her shift was to start at 00:00 Friday midnight. The son said he urged not to go to work because she seemed exhausted. Ultimately, she went to go. For the last time.

I don’t know if garbage collectors need to work extra shifts until the tonnes of garbage have been removed. The work is for sure no fun especially given the piles of garbage, the nasty odor and the weather conditions. These days, garbage trucks come late at night or early in the morning in our neighborhood. Workers wear surgery masks. It is a walking-and-carrying-height job for I don’t know how many kilometers per shift.

Given the current circumstances, it is certainly not the best job for people with health problems. One the other hand, in times of economic crisis, one has very little options for an appropriate job.

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