Garbage collectors in Paris to strike 'indefinitely' in pension protest

APR 13, 2023 LISTEN

Garbage collectors in Paris have voted to resume their strike – promising to once again transform the streets of the capital into a “public rubbish dump” until France's controversial pensions reform bill is scrapped. 

The “big stink” is set to return, 15 days after hundreds of unsightly piles of rubbish gradually disappeared when garbage collectors returned to work, with the aim of injecting fresh momentum into their strike.

They will down tools from Thursday, a day of nationwide cross-sector strikes and protests, following a call from the waste treatment sector of the hardline CGT union.

Paris's three incinerator plants are also to be blockaded.

The work stoppage comes a day ahead of a key decision by France's Constitutional Council on the validity of President Emmanuel Macron's flagship legislation to raise the retirement age from 62 to 64.

“If we have to last two weeks, we will last two weeks,” said Régis Vieceli, head of the CGT's waste and sanitation sector in Paris, adding that round two would be even stronger than the first.

Rolling strike

At the start of the month the CGT announced its intention to set in motion a "renewable and indefinite" movement after the initial strike from 6-29 March, when 10,000 tons of rubbish piled up on Paris streets.

The movement was suspended after strikers said they could not continue to bear the financial burden of a lengthy walkout.

“Over the past two weeks, we have held discussions with workshops and garages, including those in the private sector," Vieceli said.

“We have worked to ensure we get a high percentage of strikers because, whatever the decision of the Constitutional Council, this reform must fall.

“Emmanuel Macron needs to hear what the workers are telling him. Two more years is not possible.”