Strike leaves Lisbon heaving under rubbish

Strike leaves Lisbon heaving under rubbish

It’s not just the mess and filthy piles of plastic bags, it’s the smell. Lisbon is literally heaving under mounds of rubbish as a result of the refuse workers strike which began on Christmas Eve and is set to continue until January 5.

Residential areas are the most affected, “to the despair of all who live and work in the city”, writes Correio da Manhã, describing the stink as “nauseating”.

A spokesman for the union behind the strike – STMAL, the syndicate of workers of the municipality of Lisbon – told the newspaper that backing had been at least 85% – with the few refuse collectors who have stayed working concentrating on the city’s downtown and tourist areas.

“If the council continues to clean the Baixa (downtown) and touristic areas, the residential areas will have more rubbish to collect”, he conceded.

STMAL came out on strike against plans to privatise the sector, which it claims undermine workers’ “unalienable right to work” and which will further reduce services provided by the city council.