A potential health crisis could hit a Spanish city as piles of rubbish continue to grow on the streets because of a workers' strike now in its ninth day.

Foul smells emanate from towering tonnes of rubbish are blighting Seville, the Andalusian city that's long been a favourite with British tourists.

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Stinking piles of rubbish line the streets in Seville

Around 6,000 tonnes of rubbish now threaten to topple onto pedestrians and some garbage containers have been set on fire in the south of the district, adding a criminal dimension to the growing problem.

Spain is currently battling the worst financial crisis it has seen for many years. More than 25% of Spaniards are unemployed, and the refuse cuts are the latest of a number of austerity measures the government has had to shoulder to avoid and international bailout.

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The strike has entered its ninth day

Refuse workers from Lipasam, the municipal street cleaning company, are striking over demands they take a 5% pay cut and extend their working week to 37.5 hours. However the government has insisted local councils must make cuts to balance their books.

Their 1,600 employees are forced to operate a reduced service despite the strike, guaranteeing that 30% of rubbish will still be disposed of, especially outside places like hospitals and abattoirs.

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  • SPAIN-FINANCE-STRIKE-PUBLIC-DEBT

    A tree is surrounded by uncollected rubbish on a square of Sevilla on February 4, 2013. Rubbish collectors have been on strike in the municipality of Sevilla to protest against the austerity cuts imposed by the town hall. AFP PHOTO/ JORGE GUERRERO (Photo credit should read Jorge Guerrero/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Seville Waste Disposal Strike

    SEVILLE, SPAIN - FEBRUARY 05: Garbage piles up on the street beside a bar sign displaying lunch prices during the ninth day of the Seville waste disposal strike on February 5, 2013 in Seville, Spain. Workers are striking over demands they take a 5% pay cut and extend their working week to 37.5 hours. (Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images)

  • Seville Waste Disposal Strike

    SEVILLE, SPAIN - FEBRUARY 05: Garbage piles up on the street beside a bar sign displaying lunch prices during the ninth day of the Seville waste disposal strike on February 5, 2013 in Seville, Spain. Workers are striking over demands they take a 5% pay cut and extend their working week to 37.5 hours. (Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images)

  • Seville Waste Disposal Strike

    SEVILLE, SPAIN - FEBRUARY 05: A pedestrian passes a pile of garbage during the ninth day of the Seville waste disposal strike on February 5, 2013 in Seville, Spain. Workers are striking over demands they take a 5% pay cut and extend their working week to 37.5 hours. (Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images)

  • Seville Waste Disposal Strike

    SEVILLE, SPAIN - FEBRUARY 05: Cyclists ride past a pile of garbage during the ninth day of the Seville waste disposal strike on February 5, 2013 in Seville, Spain. Workers are striking over demands they take a 5% pay cut and extend their working week to 37.5 hours. (Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images)

  • Seville Waste Disposal Strike

    SEVILLE, SPAIN - FEBRUARY 05: Pedestrians pass a pile of garbage during the ninth day of the Seville waste disposal strike on February 5, 2013 in Seville, Spain. Workers are striking over demands they take a 5% pay cut and extend their working week to 37.5 hours. (Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images)

  • Seville Waste Disposal Strike

    SEVILLE, SPAIN - FEBRUARY 05: Pedestrians pass a pile of garbage during the ninth day of the Seville waste disposal strike on February 5, 2013 in Seville, Spain. Workers are striking over demands they take a 5% pay cut and extend their working week to 37.5 hours. (Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images)

  • Seville Waste Disposal Strike

    SEVILLE, SPAIN - FEBRUARY 05: A young girl rides her bike past a mound of garbage during the ninth day of the Seville waste disposal strike on February 5, 2013 in Seville, Spain. Workers are striking over demands they take a 5% pay cut and extend their working week to 37.5 hours. (Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images)

  • Seville Waste Disposal Strike

    SEVILLE, SPAIN - FEBRUARY 05: Pedestrians pass a pile of garbage during the ninth day of the Seville waste disposal strike on February 5, 2013 in Seville, Spain. Workers are striking over demands they take a 5% pay cut and extend their working week to 37.5 hours. (Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images)

  • SPAIN-FINANCE-STRIKE-PUBLIC-DEBT

    A man walks past uncollected rubbish in a street of Sevilla on February 4, 2013. Rubbish collectors have been on strike in the municipality of Sevilla to protest against the austerity cuts imposed by the town hall. AFP PHOTO/ JORGE GUERRERO (Photo credit should read Jorge Guerrero/AFP/Getty Images)

  • SPAIN-FINANCE-STRIKE-PUBLIC-DEBT

    A woman walks past uncollected rubbish on a riverbank of Sevilla on February 4, 2013. Rubbish collectors have been on strike in the municipality of Sevilla to protest against the austerity cuts imposed by the town hall. AFP PHOTO/ JORGE GUERRERO (Photo credit should read Jorge Guerrero/AFP/Getty Images)

  • SPAIN-FINANCE-STRIKE-PUBLIC-DEBT

    A man rides past uncollected rubbish in a street of Sevilla on February 4, 2013. Rubbish collectors have been on strike in the municipality of Sevilla to protest against the austerity cuts imposed by the town hall. AFP PHOTO/ JORGE GUERRERO (Photo credit should read Jorge Guerrero/AFP/Getty Images)

  • SPAIN-FINANCE-STRIKE-PUBLIC-DEBT

    A man walk past uncollected rubbish in a street of Sevilla on February 4, 2013. Rubbish collectors have been on strike in the municipality of Sevilla to protest against the austerity cuts imposed by the town hall. AFP PHOTO/ JORGE GUERRERO (Photo credit should read Jorge Guerrero/AFP/Getty Images)

  • SPAIN-FINANCE-STRIKE-PUBLIC-DEBT

    A woman pulls a plastic bag from uncollected rubbish in a street of Sevilla on February 4, 2013. Rubbish collectors have been on strike in the municipality of Sevilla to protest against the austerity cuts imposed by the town hall. AFP PHOTO/ JORGE GUERRERO (Photo credit should read Jorge Guerrero/AFP/Getty Images)

  • SPAIN-FINANCE-STRIKE-PUBLIC-DEBT

    A woman walks with her bike past uncollected rubbish in a street of Sevilla on February 4, 2013. Rubbish collectors have been on strike in the municipality of Sevilla to protest against the austerity cuts imposed by the town hall. AFP PHOTO/ JORGE GUERRERO (Photo credit should read Jorge Guerrero/AFP/Getty Images)

  • SPAIN-GIRALDA-FEATURE

    A man walks past next to the Giralda of Sevilla on February 4, 2013. AFP PHOTO/ JORGE GUERRERO (Photo credit should read Jorge Guerrero/AFP/Getty Images)