Strikes leave Paris streets stink­ing

The Citizen (KZN) - - World - Paris

– France’s trains may be run­ning again but the whiff of dis­con­tent over the gov­ern­ment’s pen­sion re­forms still hangs thick in the air as a waste dis­posal strike be­gins to bite.

Side­walks in sev­eral parts of Paris have be­come ob­sta­cle cour­ses of over­flow­ing wheelie bins af­ter 10 days of block­ades at the city’s in­cin­er­a­tion plants.

Six of seven in­cin­er­a­tors used to burn the cap­i­tal’s trash have been brought to a halt by the strike, the agency in charge of the city’s house­hold waste said, leav­ing rub­bish go­ing un­col­lected for days in sev­eral ar­eas.

In a city where pub­lic parks have bat­tled ro­dent in­fes­ta­tions in re­cent years, the trash pile-ups have raised pub­lic health con­cerns.

Ex­press­ing the frus­tra­tion of many Parisians, Cather­ine Le­moine, a res­i­dent of the chic 16th dis­trict, said: “It’s the strike af­ter strike af­ter strike that makes it a bit... un­live­able!”

April Wood, an Amer­i­can tourist who was vis­it­ing the sights in Paris’s Left Bank with her hus­band Andy, also ex­pressed dis­gust.

“It is a de­ter­rent as a tourist to have to wit­ness it,” she said.

In the south­ern port city of Mar­seille, where work­ers have been block­ing waste-sort­ing cen­tres for the past 10 days, about 3 000 tonnes of garbage have piled up in the streets, ac­cord­ing to lo­cal au­thor­i­ties.

The city has re­quired unions to pro­vide a min­i­mum level of ser­vice and placed garbage tips out for res­i­dents to stop them dump­ing their trash di­rectly on the street.

Waste col­lec­tors are up in arms over the gov­ern­ment’s plans to fuse 42 dif­fer­ent pen­sion schemes – in­clud­ing the early re­tire­ment plans en­joyed by train driv­ers, Paris Opera em­ploy­ees and sev­eral other groups – into a sin­gle points-based sys­tem.

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