Garbage collectors in Nicosia’s Strovolos municipality are going on a 48-hour strike Thursday to protest city council plans that would add private crews to waste collection.
According to a written statement by several unions, their members are “reacting strongly to buying services and a number of garbage trucks from the private sector at the insistence of the Mayor and the majority on the city council.”
Strovolos Mayor Andreas Papacharalambous is pushing for the purchase of garbage trucks along with buying services from crews in the private sector, following a decision last year by the city council.
The mayor had said in the past that private crews joining the waste collection operation would allow 8 to 10 municipality employees on city payroll to focus on the maintenance of general cleanliness in Strovolos.
The mayor says private crews joining waste collection would allow 8 to 10 municipality employees on city payroll to focus on keeping Strovolos clean
But the unions say in their joined statement that other Strovolos municipality employees have also joined their fight by supporting their colleagues in the waste collection but also because they are worried that the mayor’s approach to the private sector is spilling into other areas of the municipality.
But it is not clear how much support they are getting from the public.
The city has been receiving a lot of complaints about garbage collection according to local media, with citizens saying their garbage is not always collected and trash cans sometimes are not put back in their place.
Some comments on social media late last year included accusations that garbage men did not collect everything in order to go home early. Other comments pointed to an improvement in the last year but not for all areas in the network.
Citizens have also been complaining about the foul smell coming from garbage trucks, which do not appear to be properly maintained or cleaned.
The unions are calling on the mayor to withdraw his plans and have a dialogue with them on the basis of keeping waste collection within the municipality’s purview.
The statement also asked the public to show understanding during the inconvenience due to the strike.