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Madrid street-sweepers call off strike: union
by Staff Writers
Madrid (AFP) Nov 17, 2013

Thousands in Naples protest mafia pollution
Naples, Italy (AFP) Nov 16, 2013 - Thousands protested Saturday in Naples over illegal waste dumps blamed on the mafia that generate toxic fumes, an AFP photographer said.

Between 30,000 and 100,000 people braved heavy rain for the protest, according to varying estimates from police and organisers.

Demonstrators chanted "No to Camorra" in reference to the Neapolitan mafia and some protestors carried photographs of relatives who they said had died from cancer.

The protest movement is calling for the decontamination of polluted land and water and blames the mafia for creating hundreds of illegal dumps in the area.

Locals call the zone between Naples and Caserta the "Land of Fires" or "Triangle of Death" due to the toxic fumes produced by burning waste.

Among the protesters were the mayor of Naples, environmental groups and local figures including the singer Nino d'Angelo and Father Maurizio Patriciello, one of the first to hit out against the problem.

Three tonnes of bread baked using ingredients from "clean" fields in the region were distributed to protestors.

The organisation Legambiente said that in 22 years some 440 businesses located in central and northern Italy have buried around 10 million tonnes of industrial waste in the area.

Street-sweepers in Madrid on Sunday called off a strike over jobs and pay that has caused rubbish to pile up in the streets of the Spanish capital, a union said.

The strike was launched by unions representing workers who clean the city's streets and public gardens on November 5 in protest against plans to slash 1,134 jobs out of a total of around 7,000, and cut salaries by up to 40 percent.

In meetings on Sunday afternoon, workers approved a deal reached earlier by unions and the private companies that employ the cleaners, the CCOO labour union said in a statement.

"The workers approved the agreement by an absolute majority and agreed to call off the strike," it said.

"They will resume normal service on the night shift" on Sunday to Monday, the union added.

Under the deal hammered out in marathon talks over the weekend, the companies agreed not to fire any workers in return for the employees accepting temporary unpaid lay-offs.

Before the strike, the companies, which include OHL-Ascan, FCC and Sacyr-Valorisa, had said cuts were necessary since the city hall, under pressure to reduce costs like public authorities around Spain, was spending less on cleaning.

The strike did not include the refuse collectors who remove bags of domestic rubbish, but even so it left piles of waste paper and other street trash blocking pavements in this city of three million people.

"The excessive and unjustifiable intentions of the companies, along with the irresponsible and deplorable management of the conflict by the city hall, have led Madrid to undergo a situation that neither workers nor citizens should have suffered," the CCOO said.

A public company had started cleaning the streets on Saturday on the orders of the mayor of Madrid, Ana Botella, in the absence of a deal to end the strike earlier.


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