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 18 days amid a strike by garbage collectors.
Health Minister Jaime Manalich said Thursday that the measure seeks to protect the residents of Valparaiso from a strike “that carries huge health risks.”
The work stoppage began Oct. 16, and the government started 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 Nov. 17 presidential elections are held.