Malaga streets pile high with rubbish as refuse collectors strike

2016-03-06 06:00:00

Employees at Limasa, the company in charge of rubbish collection and street cleaning in Malaga, started an indefinite strike on Tuesday. By yesterday, some 1,222 tonnes of rubbish lay uncollected on the city streets and negotiations had broken off between the company and unions.
The reasons behind the dispute lie in 437 euros as a productivity bonus and a week’s holiday in the summer. The inability to come to an agreement on these two issues led to the unions calling a strike.
On the one hand, Malaga council - the majority shareholder in Limasa with a 49 per cent holding in the company - proposes paying the bonus in 2017 and increasing the total amount to 1,119 euros in 2018. The council believes Limasa employees should accept a fortnight’s holiday between June and September, and the remaining three weeks during the rest of the year.
On the other, trade unions representing Limasa employees, are fighting for the bonus to be paid this year and a single-bonus payment in 2017. In terms of holiday, they’re demanding three weeks in the summer with a fortnight to be taken during the rest of the year.
Both sides are currently at loggerheads after the meeting called on Tuesday between the unions and Raúl Jiménez, the councillor for environmental sustainability, ended when the unions left the table after just 47 minutes. The councillor needed a police escort when he left the building to shouts and jeers from Limasa employees.
Minimum services were imposed on Limasa employees by the Junta de Andalucía who decreed that 50 per cent of the rubbish in the city centre should be removed and 40 per cent elsewhere in the city.
However, by yesterday it was patently obvious that these minimum services were not being met. Rubbish in some areas of the centre reached epic proportions with one mountain in Plaza de la Merced two metres high.
The mayor of Malaga, Francisco de la Torre, said yesterday that he was “open to dialogue” but that it was up to Limasa employees to make the first move. He also said the council would not be bringing in external refuse collection for the moment and urged the Junta to ensure that minimum services were being carried out.
Meanwhile, businesses on the industrial estates and city centre restaurants announced that they were planning to contract private companies to remove the rubbish.
Limasa workers have been threatening strike action since late last year. Opposition groups in the council blamed the mayor and his team for the strike, claiming they had left it too late to negotiate.
Among the more controversial aspects of employment, Limasa employees may ‘inherit’ positions that become vacant through early retirement, disability or death. Since 2007, 196 workers have become permanent employees through this clause that Limasa has yet to remove from the workers’ statute despite all parties urging them to do so. However, this unusual situation has nothing to do with the current strike.source surinenglish