Greek garbage piles up as authorities squabble
ATHENS - Thousands of tonnes of uncollected rubbish, including rotting meat, piled up along the streets of the Greek capital for a fifth day last week as rubbish collectors continued a strike over labour contracts.
Central Athens landmarks including the newly-constructed pedestrian walkway beneath the Acropolis and a revamped Omonia square appeared transformed into large urban landfill sites.
More than 2,000 refuse collectors launched a strike yesterday in protest at the introduction of temporary employment contracts for some 250 colleagues, but a day later a court ruled the strike illegal.
The Athens Municipality backed its striking workers saying it was the Interior Ministry\'s responsibility to solve the labour dispute.
Unusually high temperatures have added to the city\'s woes as two-metre (six foot) piles of mouldy garbage bags continued to rise around Athens\' large central meat and vegetable market.
And Athenians, despite calls from authorities not to take out the trash for a few days, are continuing daily to dump more than 1,500 tonnes of rubbish.
The strike is the second by garbage collectors in Athens, host of the 2004 Olympics, in three months. The previous week-long work stoppage in December badly hurt Christmas sales as shoppers were forced to wade through a sea of rubbish.
REUTERS NEWS SERVICE
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