Garbage accumulated in the streets of Paris. Street sweepers have been on strike since March 6 against the Pension Reform, presented by the Macron government to Congress AFP – THOMAS SAMSON

Originally published on RFI

On the sidewalks of Paris, rubbish bins overflow and piles of garbage bags impede the passage of pedestrians. The garbage collectors have been on strike against the pension reform since Monday (6th), and thus failed to collect 4.5 tons of garbage in the French capital.

“It’s horrible and it stinks.” Dozens of full garbage bags accumulate on the sidewalks of the Grands Boulevards, an avenue that brings together important department stores such as the luxurious Galerie Laffayete.

“Paris is a dump”, ironizes an internet user, in a parody of the book “Paris is a Party”.

“It’s not possible [suportar] that’s when you go out to eat in a restaurant”, complains Michaël, maitre d’ at the Bouillon Chartier restaurant, which usually serves 1,700 meals a day. The restaurant already accumulates a ten-meter row of uncollected garbage bags on its sidewalk.

Director of a clothing boutique, Johana Marciano complains about the “catastrophic image of Paris” in front of foreign clients, who have to dodge piles of rubbish to reach their stores.

The accumulation of garbage has changed habits even in the traditional cafes of Paris. “People no longer want to stay on the terrace. Especially since it rained, and the cardboard boxes melted and turned into a paper folder on the ground”, says Estelle Guillerm, the manager of a café. Guillerm says she understands the precarious situation of waste pickers, but she regrets the “enormous impact on people’s lives”.

Social Security Reform

Garbage collectors, as well as public transport workers, have been on strike since the beginning of the week against the Social Security reform, in a vote in the Senate.

The reform will increase the legal minimum age for retirement, from 62 to 64 years, and changes the rules so that pensioners can have their full retirement.

“I am 56 years old. As I worked a little in private companies, I would need to work until I was 67 to be able to fully retire”, exemplifies street sweeper Jean-Christophe Oudart, who works in the 14th district of the capital, in an interview with Franceinfo.

An opinion poll carried out in February shows that 69% of French people are against the text of the pension reform being voted in the French Congress.

This Saturday (11), demonstrations against the project take place in all major French cities. This is the seventh day of nationwide protests.

Last Tuesday (7), the unions gathered 1.3 million people in the streets, according to the Ministry of the Interior, to show popular dissatisfaction with the reform project.

According to an Elabe poll for BFMTV published today, 63% of French people approve of the mobilization against the reform, although 78% of them believe that the reform will be approved by Congress anyway.

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