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Garbage piles up in Lisbon as workers pursue strike

A tram passes on a street in downtown Lisbon's Baixa quarter on February 7, 2009

Piles of garbage mounted in the streets of Lisbon on Sunday as refuse collectors pursued a nearly week-long strike over budget cuts.

The strike, which started December 23, was prompted by the city's use of outside contractors and the privatisation of essential services, according to a statement from the CGTP union confederation.

The CGTP said it would continue the strike until January 5, though Lisbon Mayor Antonio Costa said he thought it would take a few more days before things return to normal.

Authorities have asked residents not to put out their rubbish during the strike.

This latest strike is one of several to hit Portugal's public services in recent months as unions oppose an austere 2014 budget.

Next year's budget aims to save 3.9 billion euros ($5.3 billion), partly through cutting public sector salaries and pensions.

Transport strikes are expected in the coming weeks.

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