Paris Suffers as Sanitation Workers Strike Against Pension Reform
Paris has been dealing with a stench and piles of rubbish as sanitation workers continue their strike against pension reform proposed by President Emmanuel Macron. Since March 6, over 7,000 tons of garbage have accumulated across the city, leading to a difficult and unpleasant situation for the Parisians and visitors alike.
Other cities, including Nantes, Rennes, and Le Havre, have also been affected by the strike, which is causing a lot of disruption to the city's waste management system. Tourist Nadiia Turkay told Sky News that it was “hard to navigate some streets” due to the amount of trash on the streets.
The strikes are in response to Macron's proposals to raise the pension age from 62 to 64. Health is a prime concern within the sanitation sector, officially acknowledged with the current early retirement at 57. However, there have been no long-term studies to confirm the widespread claims of shortened life expectancy among sanitation workers.
Although the president remains undaunted in his attempts to pass the unpopular pension reform bill in parliament, the strike has had a visible impact on the City of Light. Rubbish bins are seen overflowing on the streets of Paris and three waste treatment sites have been blockaded and a fourth partially closed.
Gursel Durnaz, who has been on a picket line for nine days, said “It makes me sick” and that there was “stuff all over.” Ali Chaligui, another garbage collector, switched his job to an office position in logistics due to health reasons.
Specialist Romain Lasseur told Le Parisien newspaper that the strike triggers a change in rat behaviour and that there is a worrying health risk for refuse collectors and the general population.
Despite the discomfort, Turkay sympathised with the strikers and accepted her discomfort as being “for a good cause”. Mr Durnaz and Mr Aubisse, a union official, both suggested that President Macron withdraw his plan and that Paris would be clean in three days. However, they both noted that if the bill is voted through, “things will happen.
0. “Piles of rubbish tarnish Paris lustre as pension strike continues” Jersey Evening Post, 14 Mar. 2023, https://www.jerseyeveningpost.com/morenews/worldnews/2023/03/14/piles-of-rubbish-tarnish-paris-lustre-as-pension-strike-continues/
1. “Paris turns into garbage dump amid strike by binmen | Indiablooms – First Portal on Digital News Management” indiablooms, 10 Mar. 2023, https://www.indiablooms.com/world-details/F/38169/paris-turns-into-garbage-dump-amid-strike-by-binmen.html
2. “French bin strike: Paris holds its nose as waste piles up” BBC, 14 Mar. 2023, https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-64950503
3. “Waste Collectors Strike Compiles 7,000 Tons Of Garbage In Paris” teleSUR English, 14 Mar. 2023, https://www.telesurenglish.net/news/Waste-Collectors-Strike-Compiles-7000-Tons-Of-Garbage-In-Paris-20230314-0010.html