Madrid subway system slightly cleaner, but strike continues
Madrid's subway system started the New Year slightly cleaner than it ended the old one.
2 January 2008
MADRID - Madrid's subway system started the New Year slightly cleaner than it ended the old one after reinforced minimum services began to make a dent in the garbage accumulated during a two-week-long strike by cleaners.
Cleaning services were ramped up over the weekend after Madrid regional premier Esperanza Aguirre threatened to rescind the contracts of subcontracted cleaning firms unless they start to get the litter off platforms and trains. However, though minimum services have been strengthened in some stations and on some lines, in other areas the garbage continues to pile up.
So far the companies - Valoriza, Clece, Ferroser and Eurolimp - have yet to reach an agreement with unions representing their 1,500 cleaning staff who are demanding higher wages and greater job security. A marathon 22-hour meeting spanning Friday afternoon and much of Saturday morning ended with the parties still divided.
The companies have so far agreed to equate wages for workers of all firms and pledged to guarantee work for 80 percent of employees through to the end of 2010. However, they have refused to grant workers a 20 percent salary raise in compensation for the hazardous environment in which they say they work.
[Copyright El Pais 2008]
Subject: Spanish news