Hurray! The rubbish strike here in Granada has finally been called off. And thank God. Until the cleansing process began this morning, rubbish heaps more reminiscent of actual rubbish dumps had occupied our almost invisible pavements. The strike lasted for a total of 13 days, and has been the longest ever since Inagra, the municipal cleaning company who pay the refuge collectors their wages, assumed concession of the service 28 years ago.
Some newspapers have calculated that by yesterday, there were more than 2,300 tons of rubble garnishing the city’s streets. That’s a lot of rubbish, if you consider that one London bus weighs give or take 10 tons, and workers, or basureros as they are called here in Spain, have reportedly cleared up to 25% of it already. Surprising really, given the fact that none of the original proposals with which the workers were in disagreement have been rectified. They will still receive a 2.5% pay cut – despite having already yielded to a previous cut of 7.5% in 2010 – and they’re working hours will be increased by 2.5 taking the total to 37.5 per week. The one compromise is a pay rise of 0.75% in 2014, though following this salaries will be frozen for a further four years, meaning even greater hardships to contend with as inflation continues to soar.
The initial attempt to end the strike came not 24 hours before the eventual deal was struck, upon which workers promptly told Inagra to shove their ‘compromise’ where the sun don’t shine. According to Spanish newspaper El País, today’s meeting, though essentially just a repeat of Friday’s, was slightly less irate, and workers were apparently ‘calmer and more understanding’ of the situation, leading to a majority acceptance of the terms.
It couldn’t have come quickly enough, considering the current downpour on the city has steadily turned the growing garbage dunes into stinking, idyllic vermin domiciles. I saw a rat about as long as my forearm scurry into one a couple of days ago. It was vile!
At least we can be thankful it didn’t happen in the summer; two years ago when I lived in El Puerto de Santa María, there was a garbage strike in late Spring which produced a reek so pungent I retched every time I came within five feet of one of the fly and maggot ridden offal mounds. And that was just after a week.
Can’t wait to see my beloved Granada all cleaned up and looking pretty again. Ugly doesn’t suit her.
Any other expats experienced this before? What’s your view on the matter?