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French waste collectors urged to create stink over pension reform

#French #waste #collectors #urged #create #stink #pension #reform

Influential French trade union CGT called Tuesday for garbage collectors to join rolling strikes that have been announced for March 7 against President Emmanuel Macron’s pension reform, raising the prospect of rubbish piling up in the streets.

The CGT, which is the largest union among Paris rubbish collectors, urged all private and public workers in the refuse and recycling sector to join a bid to “bring France to a standstill” next month.

Macron’s controversial pension proposals would raise the retirement age from 62 to 64 years, with critics seeing them as having an unfair impact on unskilled workers who tend to start their careers well before graduates. 

All of France’s biggest unions have called for rolling strikes on March 7, with the date timed for the final stage of discussions in parliament where the legislation is expected to garner a slim majority.

“It’s our contribution, our response to the call from the unions to block the economy,” said Francois Livartowski, secretary of the CGT branch that represents public service workers including garbage collectors. 

“Two years more work represents for many of us a risk of dying before retirement,” he added. “Faced with this disregard for our careers, our professions and our lives, it’s time to fight back and act en masse.”

Several days of protests and strikes organised by the unions since January 19 have seen more than a million people hit the streets.

The reform is seen as a key test for Macron who is eyeing pension reform as a signature achievement of his second term, but the changes are unpopular with an overwhelming majority of the country.

His minority government will need support in parliament from the opposition Republicans party to pass the legislation, but the ongoing debate in the 577-seat National Assembly is stormy even by French standards.

One left-wing MP was suspended after posting a picture of himself online with a football that had a picture of Labour Minister Olivier Dussopt’s face plastered on to it. 

Another presented his public apologies to Dussopt after calling him a “killer” and “an imposter” during bad-tempered exchanges on Monday that led proceedings to be suspended.

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#French #waste #collectors #urged #create #stink #pension #reform

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