Madrid council issues ultimatum on trash strike as garbage piles up in city streets

MADRID – Madrid’s city council says it will tear up its municipal cleaning contracts with private companies, if they fail to end a trash collectors’ strike that has left piles of garbage in the Spanish capital’s streets.

Mayor Ana Botella said Wednesday the city “cannot wait any longer for an agreement” to get street cleaners and garbage collectors back to work.

The city’s trash cans and larger containers are stinking and overflowing after nine days of an open-ended strike.

Botella said the garbage is not a public health risk, but the situation had become “intolerable.”

She gave the companies 48 hours to strike an agreement with labour groups angered by layoffs and pay cuts. After that, she said, the city council will give the cleaning contracts to state-owned Tragsa.