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Striking street cleaners raise a stink in Madrid

Indefinite stoppage continues in protest at planned layoffs

Garbage piles up in the district of Atocha in the center of Madrid as street cleaners go on indefinite strike to protest layoffs. Ver fotogalería
Garbage piles up in the district of Atocha in the center of Madrid as street cleaners go on indefinite strike to protest layoffs.

Garbage began piling up in the center of Madrid on Tuesday as cleaners continued an indefinite strike to protest layoff plans by companies contracted by City Hall.

Construction and services firms FCC, OHL and Sacyr have presented labor force adjustment plans affecting 1,134 cleaners out of a total 6,000 employees in the sector in the Spanish capital.

Labor representatives said Tuesday that adherence to the stoppage had been almost 100 percent, apart from those workers designated to provide minimum services. A spokesman for one of the companies said picket lines had prevented workers providing minimum services from doing their job.

The companies also reported acts some acts of violence by striking workers with a Molotov cocktail thrown at one work center. They also said the tires of some work vehicles had been deliberately punctured, while garbage containers had been overturned. Police said five people had been arrested for burning garbage containers.

“We are not aware that such acts have taken place, but if they have, we condemn them,” said Juan Carlos del Río, a UGT labor union official responsible for the street cleaning sector.