LABOR DISPUTE

Seville streets cleared after end to 11-day garbage strike

Cost of cleanup to be balanced out by deductions from workers’ pay after stoppage

The publicly owned trash collection company Lipasam on Monday announced it had removed more than 5,000 metric tons of refuse from the streets of Seville, where an 11-day strike by workers at the firm came to an end last Thursday.

Lipasam employees had downed tools to protest against planned salary reductions and an increase in working hours of 2.5 hours a week. A fourth round of negotiations last week broke the impasse between workers’ representatives, the company and Seville City Hall. During the 11-day stoppage, more than 7,000 tons of waste had accumulated in the streets of the city, which contains three UNESCO World Heritage sites.

Due to the urgency of the matter, city environment chief Maximiliano Vílchez announced the deployment of a dedicated force to “clean up the city in a week.” Working 24 hours a day in three shifts, teams of 140 workers and 30 garbage trucks started collecting the refuse as soon as the strike was called off at 9.30pm last Thursday.

The cost of the operation is expected to rise to 750,000 euros. Lipasam, though, will save 1.25 million euros in wages by deducting the 11 days of technical stoppages from workers’ paychecks.

Meanwhile in El Coronil, a 34-day strike called by the Andalusia Workers Union was broken by the regional government after a public health alert was issued in the municipality. A large police presence ensured trucks got through picket lines to start collecting some of the 400 tons of rubbish that had accumulated on the streets.

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