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Intended for cleaning work in offices, exhibition halls and kindergartens

23 December 2010 / 11:12:02  GRReporter
2553 reads

Anastasia Balezdrova

While workers in landfills are on strike, employees of the cleaning department at the Athens Municipality rush to clean up tons of waste that have piled in the streets in downtown Athens. Christos Drosos who is in charge for cleaning in the 2nd urban area told GRReporter that the piles of waste that we shot yesterday have already been collected after the staff and the garbage trucks were in the streets until 2 o’clock at night. He refused to comment on the outrageous findings of the inspection which was conducted by the auditors’ office at the public administration in the capital city by saying: "I am not engaged in politics. I am only concerned in garbage pick up and clean streets." According to the report, which the Ministry of Interior published:

- There are employees with temporary contracts in the Athens municipality that actually work illegally as the subject of work described in their contracts differs from what they actually do. The employees in the cleaning department are 2 743 to date and only a small number of them fulfill their obligations under waste collection.

- The inspection found 204 employees with permanent and temporary contracts enrolled in the cleaning department but transferred in other municipal departments. Auditors determine these internal reallocations as illegal because the salaries of these employees are provided by the fees that residents pay. According to the report, the municipality has benefited from the work of the temporary employees that covered the majority of the needs of the cleaning department in the years. In particular, "employees with temporary contracts were appointed in the department and were engaged in activities different from the ones specified in their contracts. Moreover, they were treated as permanent employees but they had neither security rights, nor financial benefits due to the permanent staff."

- According to some data, causing a new inspection, workers’ wages were not deducted for the time of the strike that the workers held before Christmas last year, as the law provides.  The days of the strike have been accounted as days off and the cleaning department employees have received their wages in full.

- The auditors urged the governor of Attica to take discipline measures against the competent Deputy Mayor George Dimopoulos.

We tried several times to talk to him on the phone but it turned out that he was occupied and had meetings. His secretary, however, assured us that Mr. Dimopoulos’ primary concern is the collection of waste and the comfort of residents.

The chairman of the union of municipal workers Themisto Balasopoulos on his part told GRReporter he would not comment on the auditors' report. He said: "The government thinks they discovered America. The report simply described what we all know that is a practice for many years."

The issue of waste caused a new dispute between the former mayor Nikitas Kaklamanis and PASOK’s municipal councillors. Nikitas Kaklamanis stressed in a message that striking landfill and municipal employees’ demands were targeted only to the government and its policy. According to him, "The Municipality of Athens has paid all outstanding amounts (salary for December, 13th salary and overtime for October), while the public sector and many other municipalities pay overtime compensations with delays of 4-6 months. The message also reads that the strike was suspended after the intervention of the mayor and that "over 70% of the waste was collected in the first four days."

Municipal councillors from the camp of the newly elected mayor George Kaminis stressed that "under the law, the former mayor is fully responsible for matters concerning the municipality to 31.12.2010. This includes both employees and waste collection." Their message also says that George Kaminis "calls upon all who are involved in the chain of waste collection to contribute with their labor in an act of good will for the holidays the people and traders need."
 
Some commentators estimated that these tons of garbage are almost impossible to be collected until Christmas. The strike of the workers in the Philipi landfill is over but they still participated in the Panhellenic strike organized by the major trade unions. Workers' representatives are convinced that they will be able to collect the tons of waste to prevent this year's holidays become the most "fragrant" Christmas for Athenians.

Tags: PoliticsSocietyMunicipalityGarbageStrikeWaste in the streets
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