Bins are overflowing across large areas of Paris a week in the waste collectors’ strike, leaving thousands of tons of rubbish on the streets of the French capital.
A Parisian complained on French radio: “It’s filthy, it attracts rats and cockroaches.”
The workers are striking against the Macron government’s proposals to raise the retirement age from 62 to 64.
Other cities including Nantes, Rennes and Le Havre have also been affected.
Garbage collectors joined retirement strikes a week ago, and Paris authorities say half of the city’s districts, which are covered by council workers, have been affected by the measure. Three waste treatment sites are closed and a fourth is partially closed.
Paris authorities said on Monday that 5,600 tonnes of waste had yet to be collected.
One commentator on Europe1 radio described the situation as an all-you-can-eat buffet for 6 million mice in Paris, twice the number of humans.
The Paris council said that in the 10 regions covered by private companies, the service was operating almost normally. Some reports indicated that activists were trying to prevent the groups from moving forward.
A private company was also seen Monday night by BFMTV news picking up waste in one of the major central areas, 6th, which is usually covered by council workers. Similar bin groups were continuing in two other areas on the western edge of the city.
The situation is complex, but the authority prioritizes intervention for public safety, with a focus on clearing food markets, placing garbage bags on the ground and ensuring the safety of pedestrians, said Emmanuel Gregoire, the council’s chief official.
“The blow caused a change in the behavior of the mice,” specialist Romain Lasur told Le Parisien newspaper. “They’ll scavenge in bins, breed in there, and leave their own urine and excrement. We have worrying health risks for waste collectors and the general population.”
The capital workers are due to meet on Wednesday to decide whether to continue with their work. The garbage collectors are currently retiring at the age of 57 due to difficult working conditions and under reforms they will have to work for another two years.
Opponents of the socialist mayor of Paris considered the strike only adding to the existing crisis.
Rachida Dati, who runs the 7th arrondissement for right-wing Republicans, complained that “Anne Hidalgo promised to double the budget for cleaning, and Parisians clearly see that Paris is getting dirtier and dirtier.”
French unions have stepped up action against the government’s unpopular pension reforms that Parliament is currently going through.
A number of French refinery operators went on strike on Tuesday for the seventh day in a row, but only a small percentage of French petrol stations were forced to close.
The Senate, or Senate, endorsed the measures on Saturday and will then go to a joint committee of Representatives from both houses on Wednesday to decide on the final text. The final vote could reach the National Assembly and the Senate on Thursday.
President Emmanuel Macron’s party lacks a majority in the Chamber of Deputies, so victory over the bill is by no means guaranteed.
The government needs 287 votes, and even if it can convince all of its 250 MPs to support the reforms, it will still need to find another 37 lawmakers from other parties to support the higher retirement age.
Many of those additional votes will likely be Republicans and the government is anxious to avoid forcing the legislation without a vote, which it can do by enacting Section 49:3 of the Constitution.
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