Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Basura entra, basura sale

In Chile they're striking while the striking might be good; leading up to an election;
Waste collectors around Chile are refusing to work and threatening to dump trash in the streets unless the demands of their strike are met.
....Armando Soto, president of the Federation of Contract Cleaners, Gardeners and Waste Collectors (Fenasinaj), said it would continue indefinitely until a deal was struck. 
The union leader warned workers might resort to “extreme measures.”
“We have garbage trucks, each loaded with 12,000 kilos [26,455 pounds], and we could use extreme measures, like dumping rubbish in the streets,” Soto told press.
The Manhattan gambit. The Chileans may have missed that John Lindsey wasn't descended from the likes of Augusto Pinochet. Also that it's the middle of winter in the southern hemisphere, which will mitigate the aroma...and the impact of the strike. Still, there are interesting factors at work here, one being that the industry is organized like most countries have their restaurants work; the garbagemen earn less than the minimum wage, but make tips from their customers!
In the current situation, a street sweeper earns less than the minimum wage — currently set at 193,000 pesos, roughly US$377 — and the waste collectors rely on people’s tips to top up their 250,000 pesos (US$490) salaries. Truck drivers earn 400,000 pesos, or US$782, and want their salaries pushed to 700,000 pesos (US$1,370) which is the salaries drivers in other industries are paid.   
Wasters and wastresses. And there are the inevitable Never-let-a-crisis-go-to-waste (pun) pseudo-pols;
María Loreto Muñoz Villa, former leader of the National Teachers Union, thinks that authorities should use the situation to address both the workers’ gripes and a lack of recycling in Chile.
If Chile is like most countries, then that lack of recycling is saving the people money that they'd otherwise be forced to pay for useless separation and duplication of services. This is a classic public choice economics problem, it will be interesting to see how Chile's leaders deal with it.

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