Greek refuse workers end strike as rubbish piles up in the sun

Athens (AFP) - Greek refuse workers, embroiled in a contract dispute, on Thursday ended an 11-day strike which had left ever-mounting piles of stinking rubbish festering in sweltering sun in city streets.

The workers voted to end their stoppage two days after Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras offered a range of guarantees, including a promise to extend current contracts and ensure new hirings would be on an open-ended basis.

The executive committee of the municipal workers' union had earlier warned that 6,500 workers risked having short-term contracts expire.

Before the accord to end the stoppage, other municipal workers staged a second strike inside a week in solidarity with the refuse collectors while more than 1,000 demonstrators attended an Athens rally in support.

Government spokesman Dimitris Tzanakopoulos had Wednesday accused the main opposition New Democracy party of being behind a strike he said was designed to "deal a blow to the government, the victims being the public, the workers themselves and public health."

A rally last Thursday to support the binmen and protest Greece's deep economic woes and a austerity diet drew a crowd of some 5,000.

Last week, as rubbish piled up across several major cities at the height of the tourist season, Athens municipal authorities urged residents not to take out their waste as temperatures soared beyond 40 Celsius (104 Fahrenheit).