Posts Tagged ‘conflict trash’

Trash all over Stockholm

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Remember the trash collector wildcat strike that broke out in Stockholm exactly one year ago? Yesterday, the labour court came to a decision on issues in the aftermath. In short, the court ruled in favour of the tra$h company who fired wildcat striking trash collectors who wouldn’t accept a monthly salary, instead of the piece wages traditionally paid in the industry.

The union organizing trash collectors have (in outrage) responded to this by announcing that they henceforth will abide strictly to the Occupational Safety and Health Act, which will be problematic to say the least. Union spokesperson Peder Murell issued the following statement to the Swedish Radio:

We will not haul trash bags heavier than 15 kilograms [33 pounds], we will not handle containers without wheels, we will not collect if snow hasn’t been shoveled away. I expect a lot of stuff will stay where it is.

As context, Stockholm has had its coldest January since 1987 and there is more snow than anyone can remember. To be continued.

Recycling rubble

Friday, December 5, 2008
Photo of the demolition of  a similar wall in Gaza by Khalil Hamra/AP, ripped from Time.com.

Photo of the demolition of a similar wall in Gaza by Khalil Hamra/AP, ripped from Time.com.

The Red Cross will use the rubble of a wall knocked down by fighters in Gaza to line and complete a long-delayed rainwater ditch project, according to an article in the International Herald Tribune today.  Apparently, construction materials are  so hard to clear through the Israeli and Egyptian borders during these tense times that even international development agencies are suffering and, according to the article, forced to scrounge and scavenge like everyday Gazans.

The International Committee of the Red Cross has been trying to make do by scouring Gaza for materials it can use. It’s a survival technique perfected by ordinary Gazans, who use vegetable oil for car fuel when gasoline is in tight supply and ancient kerosene stoves when natural gas runs out. Gazans dig tunnels into Egypt to haul in everything from chocolate to computers.

The situation has gotten so bad that the Red Cross, a Swiss and otherwise neutral organization, issued a frustrated statement saying that the Israeli government holds up deliveries so long that this project would not have been completed had it not been for salvaged materials.

Like many aspects of the Middle East conflict, this story is a messy mix of uplifting and heartbreaking.  It is wonderful to read about resourcefulness in the face of conflict and terrible to read about politics standing in the way people’s basic needs for infrastructure and security.


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