Greece's refuse collectors on strike

Under the blazing summer sun rubbish is piling up all over Greece. For more than a week public sector workers who collect rubbish have been on strike. They want thousands of municipal workers on short-term contracts to be given permanent contracts. Politicians are discussing whether rubbish collection shouldn't be privatised nationwide, as has already been done in some cities. Commentators also say this wouldn't be the worst option.

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Eleftheros Typos (GR) /

Clean streets are a civil right

The state is unable to fulfil its obligations to the people, Eleftheros Typos criticises:

“Although the higher tax revenues have brought in more money for public spending, the quality of services is deteriorating. ... The people can't understand how it's possible that most municipalities employ many staff while the refuse collectors have only short-term contracts. ... Taxpayers pay a high price for services, and demand that they be of a correspondingly high standard. That's the major challenge for economic development: reforming the state in such a way that every euro benefits the people and doesn't disappear into the quagmire of bureaucracy and lucrative posts for top officials.” (GR) /

Privatisation, yes, but on certain conditions

Protagon suggests a compromise for putting rubbish collection in the hands of private companies:

“We need the best solution at the lowest cost - that's simple arithmetic. What is better for a community? Having employees or hiring a private company to collect the rubbish? … Naturally one could ask the citizens what they think would be best: municipal workers or the employees of a private company? … There is only one solution: since - owing to the austerity measures - employing staff on unlimited contracts is difficult to impossible, the mayors should demand that companies interested in taking on the job employ as many former municipal workers as possible.”