Garbage piles up in Paris streets as Macron prepares to trash workers’ retirement
Uncollected garbage near the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, Tuesday, March 14, 2023. Sanitation workers have been on strike for ten days opposing Macron's assault on retirement. | Thomas Padilla / AP

France was brought to a standstill again Wednesday as the country saw its eighth day of strikes against controversial plans by the government of President Emmanuel Macron to raise the retirement age from 62 to 64.

Opinion polls show that the legislation is opposed by around two-thirds of the French people, including a staggering 74% of women.

The latest strikes and more than 200 demonstrations across the country came as French senators and deputies finalized a final draft version of the retirement law, which would also place new limits on pension amounts and eligibility.

Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne claims that she now has the votes in the Assembly to force through the plans. The Senate is expected to approve the new draft on Thursday.

As the government prepares to trash retirement security, actual trash has piled up on the streets of Paris after a week of strike action by garbage collectors.

Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin called on the Socialist Mayor of Paris Anne Hidalgo to force garbage collectors back to work. But she refused, saying that she supported the strike.

Train drivers, schoolteachers, and dock workers were among the hundreds of thousands of workers who walked off the job. About 20% of flights at Paris-Orly airport were canceled Wednesday.

Despite widespread opposition to the plans, opinion polls show that most French people believe that the government will get its way with the legislation.

Philippe Martinez, general secretary of the General Confederation of Labor (CGT) said: “There is no resignation or weariness on our side. We will not accept this reform.”

French Communist Party General Secretary Fabien Roussel said: “Ten parliamentarians have agreed among themselves on the pension reform. It’s a theft, a theft of life, behind closed doors, behind the backs of the French people.”

Roussel called on the people of France to “challenge your senators and deputies to tell them not to vote for this text.”

Morning Star


Roger McKenzie
Roger McKenzie

Roger McKenzie is the International Editor of Morning Star, Britain’s daily socialist newspaper. He is the author of the book "African Uhuru: The Fight for African Freedom in the Rise of the Global South" published by Manifesto Press.