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Karácsony Meets Personally With Striking Garbage Collectors to Resolve Their Concerns

Budapest Mayor Gergely Karácsony posted a video on Facebook of himself and Deputy Mayor Ambrus Kiss meeting with striking garbage collectors early on Thursday morning. The two city leaders traveled to a waste management location on Ecseri Road, where the garbage trucks leave on an average weekday to collect the capital’s garbage, to hear the concerns of those “without whom the city cannot function.”

The mayor wrote that:

The cost-of-living problems, out-of-control prices, and skyrocketing utility costs make them angry, and it is completely natural that this anger comes out even at those who support them. We also got our share. It was a passionate, emotional conversation. I wasn’t all that polite either – there is no place for tiresome political blah blah when it’s about people’s livelihoods and the functioning of Budapest.

Karácsony confirmed the offer from the city, in which garbage collection workers will receive a gross 200,000 Ft (US$463) subsidy for utilities above their 15% raise in wages. The offer will be discussed with Budapest trade unions.

Mayor Karácsony wrote that city leaders were working to restart garbage collection in the capital, but garbage trucks did not leave after the morning meeting. A representative of the Local Industrial and Urban Economy Workers’ Union told Népszava that they were in the process of formulating the details of a new proposal to the company, and could not say yet whether negotiations would end on Thursday.

On Wednesday, after garbage collection essentially stopped in Budapest, Karácsony declared that Disaster Management Services would pick up the city’s trash.

The mayor also took a dig at the Fidesz-led government’s management of the teachers’ strike by commenting that “unlike the school districts, we do not investigate labor law issues around the strike, and we do not fire our employees.” [Magyar Narancs]

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