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Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Paris in Relief: Refuse Workers’ Strike Ends and Garbage is Removed from Streets

Strike was called off as the number of participating refuse collectors decreased

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FRANCE: Paris is filled with the scent of spring. After refuse collectors went on strike and up to 10,000 metric tonnes of trash stacked up on the streets for the previous three weeks, the French capital had been overcome by the stench of overflowing bins.

Much of the trash had vanished hours after the CGT trade union declared it was suspending the industrial action and lifting a blockade of incinerators serving the city.

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A citizen of Paris’s Left Bank’s central 5th arrondissement uploaded a photo of a massive pile of trash bags and domestic debris that was being removed by garbage collectors from in front of their front door. “Hallelujah! First trash collection since March 6,” they wrote.

Desperate restaurant proprietors in the same arrondissement had resorted to covering the trash mounds with tarpaulins so that customers could still enjoy a drink or meal on terraces.

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According to reports, the strike in Paris was called off as the number of participating refuse collectors decreased. It was a part of a wave of protests and industrial action against Emmanuel Macron’s pension legislation. When French workers go on strike, they forfeit their salaries, and the strike funds—which are primarily supported by donations—are not enough to make up for this financial loss.

Despite officials’ efforts to work with private refuse companies, City Hall reported that an estimated 7,000 tonnes of trash remained uncollected at the time the walkout was suspended on Tuesday afternoon.

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If the government does not reverse a new law increasing the official retirement age to 64 and requiring workers to have contributed to the system for a longer period of time in order to be eligible for a full pension, union leaders said they would consider resuming more forceful industrial action in the future.

Paris has improved, but not completely. Refuse collectors left a trail of trash in their aftermath as they threw black big bags and the contents of wheelie bins into their truck in front of a hospital in an eastern neighborhood.

The new law, which is presently being reviewed by the constitutional court, will not be suspended or delayed, according to the government, which also stated that it will discuss other ways to improve working conditions but not pension reforms.

Also Read: Over 1.2 Million People Protest Macron’s Pension Reform in France

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