trash strike in madridTrash is never too fun to see – worse if you are literally walking in it day after day! And this is probably what the people in Madrid are going through after its garbage collectors and street cleaners took a strike.

The strike was fuelled after private maintenance companies in the city planned of laying off about a thousand of its people, or about a fifth of Madrid’s street cleaners. From November 5 to November 17, all the street cleaners in Madrid walked off their jobs; thus the sight of garbage-strewn streets. Tourists and locals alike suffered the stinky situation which rooted from the country’s five-year economic and budget crisis. In a bigger perspective, the cut-off of workers in the maintenance industry was not the only one that reflected Spain’s budgetary struggles; public spending for hospitals and schools was cut as well.

Fortunately, after marathon talks between union representatives and company owners. Finally, the first agreed to a new deal where there wouldn’t be any lay-off but each “would have to take six weeks without pay each year through 2017.”

Roberto Tornamira, the secretary general of UGT labor federation expressed his pleasure with the deal saying, “We’re very satisfied because the lay-offs have been withdrawn.”

Twelve days after the strike, the street cleaners, who get to save their jobs, are not the ones pleased with the agreement. In fact, more than the cleaners it is really the people (both locals and tourists) who are really glad with the news. Having to endure a stinky and healthy-risky environment, they finally can get to enjoy the city again sans the trash.

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