Health alert: Chile cleaners continue strike

2013-11-08 14:28

Santiago - Chile's government is issuing a health alert for the port of Valparaiso, where thousands of tons of trash have been piling up for nearly three weeks amid a strike by garbage collectors.

Health Minister Jaime Manalich said on Thursday that the measure seeks to protect residents of Valparaiso from a strike "that carries huge health risks".

The work stoppage began on 16 October, and the government began negotiations two weeks later. By that time, the snaking streets and steep hills of Valparaiso had become clogged with trash.

The strike has spread and is now reaching most of Chile's municipalities.

Workers are demanding a wage increase. The government says it can only come to an agreement after the 2014 budget is approved and the 17 November presidential elections are held.