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Refuse collection strike threat for next month in Fuengirola

File photo of Fuengirola during the last strike.
File photo of Fuengirola during the last strike. / I.G.
  • Workers for the council's service operator, Urbaser, believe the company has still not kept a collective- bargaining promise

The industrial unrest affecting refuse collection workers in Fuengirola that has been ongoing for two years is set to escalate once again in the coming weeks.

Employees at the refuse collection operator, Urbaser, that holds a contract from the council, have said they will start direct action again after, what they claim is, the refusal of the company to improve their working conditions as promised when Urbaser took over the contract.

According to sources, the workplace committee have put forward a series of actions that includes a strike in May, which will be the third since summer last year.

The committee say they feel they have been tricked by the company that claims it cannot improve financial conditions while the current contract terms are in force. Urbaser has also said that improvements to non-financial terms need to be cleared by the town hall as well.

The dispute goes back to summer 2017 after Urbaser had taken over the contract for all street refuse collection and part of the street sweeping in the municipality in 2016.

The company stopped a new employment deal for workers in 2017 promising that it would be brought in in 2018. When this didn't happen, workers went on strike for 10 days last summer when only minimum legal refuse-collection cover was given..

The granting of the contract to Urbaser has been mired in controversy. The former licence holder, FCC, launched legal action claiming it had made a better offer than Urbaser that was ignored, and a court upheld the FCC complaint although the council then appealed

Meanwhile, Urbaser asked to break the contract with the town hall, claiming the council wasn't meeting its side of the deal in terms of support and resources, but the town hall refused to cancel it.

The council also owes Urbaser several million euros in a dispute involving interest payouts on an old 2012 contract held prior to FCC.