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Angry municipality workers throw garbage at Ministry, try to enter Parliament, 5 injured

Thousands of municipality workers gathered outside the Interior Ministry in downtown Athens on Thursday morning. They threw water bottles, garbage and eggs at the ministry, then they attempted to enter the Greek Parliament. Police pushed them back making limited use of tear gas.

The use of teargas angered the already furious municipality workers who clashed with the policemen.

Five protesters have been reportedly injured, one woman had to be taken with an ambulance to a hospital due to breathing problems.

The protest of municipality workers started outside the Interior Ministry. They brought garbage that they set on fire.

Then they tried to enter the Ministry.

When some of the protesters spotted the chairman of the Central Union of Greece’s Municipalities (KEDE), Giorgos Patoulis, started to run towards him shouting “Stop him! Stop him!”

The KEDE chairman who is also Mayor of Marousi managed to walk to the Ministry and sought refugee there.

The angry crowd moved then to the nearby Parliament, where they met a wall of riot policemen.

In the heat of the day and tension, some protester fell like passing out.

Thousands of municipality cleaners from all over Greece flocked to Athens demanding their temporary work contracts turn into permanent work contracts.

Beginning of May, the State Auditors Court ruled that municipality workers with extended work contracts will have to return the salaries they received for the time period their contracts have been extended. The Court considers the extension of contracts even to one year as against the constitution.  The decision affects 10,000 to 15,000 municipality workers, most of them working in cleaning and garbage collection.

It has been a common practice due to the austerity measures that municipalities hire personnel on temporary contracts of up to 8 months and then extend them. Following the court ruling, this practice has to come to an end. New contracts with new personnel should be signed.

Thousands of municipality workers are furious as seeking job in a country with unemployment permanently over 22% – 23% is a truly exceptional feat.

According to media reports, KEDE puts pressure on the Interior Minister Panos Skourletis for a legislation that “secures the employment of thousands of workers on contracts.”

The ministry is said to consider two-month contracts for the municipality workers. A solution that does not solve the problem, neither does it calm down the outrage.

Two meetings of Minister Skourletis were scheduled with the municipality workers union and KEDE. Both meetings were cancelled after the angry protests.

Thursday noon, KEDE issued a statement claiming that those causing the incidents are known “four professional provocateurs” who gave an alibi to Minister Skourletis to not proceed with the meetings “for security reasons.”

Λόφοι σκουπιδιών σε όλη την Αθήνα

Meanwhile, tones of smelly garbage under the sun and in rising temperatures are pilling up on the streets in districts and suburbs of Athens and other big cities across the country.

Municipality workers have suspended the garbage collection as of Sunday midnight, although they had declared they would be on 24-hour strike on Thursday.

Despite appeals by the municipalities, people keep bringing their garbage to the bins.

How many days can one live next to rotting garbage bags in a home, especially if there is no balcony or garden?

In downtown Athens, the protest continues as a workers’ delegation managed to meet with the Parliament speaker. Nikos Voutsis does not have much of a say on the issue. When the meeting concluded, the delegation warned of new mobilizations and announced union members will block all landfills across the country.

Protesters let the government know “Heatwave with uncollected garbage.”

Temperatures were expected to rise up to 38-39 degrees Celsius over the weekend.

PS @makissinodinos has more pictures

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3 comments

  1. Political correctness condones no violence. I do, when crimes against ten million people have continuously been committed for the last 8 years simply out of sheer domination games of the powers to be. Enough is enough!

  2. And something more: when the Constitution is torn to pieces by the Troika and its local lackeys it is OK. When it is supposedly violated to help some poor wretched souls (for the privileged position of garbage collectors) then it must be respected!

  3. The Greek constitution should ban permanent contracts. It’s a joke.
    I don’t blame the garbage collectors, if fellow civil servants get permanent jobs, then why not them?
    Double standards here.

    They should all be on contracts that are like normal labor contracts, so they are hired full time, but they can also be fired at some point with the relevant compensation naturally.