Over 10,000 tons, or over 22 million pounds, of burning trash currently line the streets of Paris amid sanitation worker protests. Tuesday marks the 16th consecutive day of protests since President Emmanuel Macron raised the general France retirement age from 62 to 64 and 57 to 59 for garbage collectors. Workers have since stopped collecting trash, leaving piles of garbage to rot on the Paris streets. Protesters have since begun to burn the trash. While Macron argues that raising France’s retirement age will make the country’s pension system financially sustainable for the future, polls show a majority of French people oppose the legislation. The bill will face a review by the Constitutional Council before it can be signed into law. However, the French government won two no-confidence motions put forth by lawmakers who strongly oppose the legislation. Now, the bill is considered adopted.
USA TODAY: Heaps of trash pile up on Paris streets amid protests against France retirement law: Photos
By Wyatte Grantham-Philips; March 21, 2023
Heaps of trash have been piling up on the streets of Paris and other French cities as garbage workers continue to strike, protesting President Emmanuel Macron’s unpopular decision to raise the country’s retirement age.
Tuesday marks the 16th day of Paris garbage collectors’ strike. The growing piles of trash have become a powerful symbol of their protest.
Despite the smell and the garbage-filled streets, with some piles standing taller than an average person, many Parisians are expressing support with the sanitation workers on strike.
“I’m 200% behind these guys,” Vincent Salazar, a 62-year-old artistic consultant who lives in Paris, told The Associated Press. Garbage collectors are “smelling (trash) all day long… They should get early retirement.”
Polling shows the majority of French people oppose Macron’s plan, which raises the age when workers start collecting a government pension by two years. The retirement age moves from 62 to 64 for most workers, and from 57 to 59 for garbage collectors.
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Macron has argued that raising France’s retirement age will make the country’s pension system financially sustainable in the future. He pushed the legislation through French Parliament last week without a vote, due to a special constitutional article.
While the bill still faces a review by the Constitutional Council before it can be signed into law, the government won two no-confidence motions put forth by lawmakers who strongly oppose the legislation on Monday. Now, the bill is considered adopted.
Still, sanitation strikers and others fighting the pension changes are not backing down. Unions in France have called for new protests nationwide later this week.
Garbage on city streets will also likely continue to pile up.