Trash Strike Enters Third Week; Military Help Sought
MADRID, Spain (AP) _ Officials Sunday appealed for military help to clean up rail stations and airport areas clogged with litter and rotting garbage as a trash haulers’ strike enters its third week.
Conditions in Madrid’s subway have become so unsanitary that workers have begun wearing masks and pregnant employees were exempted from work, news reports said.
Dozens of schools were closed last week because of health risks. Barajas International Airport has barred those without tickets from entering terminals, where trash bins are spilling over.
No progress was made last week in negotiations to end the walkout by the public building cleaners union, which is demanding a $100-a-month increase to the base salary of $650. The cleaning company association has offered a 7 percent raise.
The strike is seriously damaging the city’s image as it celebrates its fourth month as Europe’s Cultural Capital, the El Mundo newspaper complained Sunday.
Garbage bins in subway stations began overflowing weeks ago, with paper products, cigarette butts and decaying food piled high on the platforms and along the tracks.
Airport officials brought in cleaning crews to sweep terminals last week, prompting clashes between strikers and police.
Union officials promised workers would clean the filthiest stations, including the transfer station in the historic Puerta del Sol, as a ″gesture of good will,″ the state news agency EFE reported.