March 21, 2019

French Unions plan more Strikes as rats and rubbish pile up

French unions have called two more national days of action to protest at the goverment’s pension reforms.

With France already wracked with protests and shortages the Unions met yesterday in Paris and announced 28th October and 2nd November as days of national protest.

The pressure on the government is mounting with students joining workers and marching in cities around the country, including Paris, Marseille, Toulouse and Bordeaux.

Separately, rolling strikes are continuing against government plans to raise the pension age from 60 to 62. The lower house has already approved the bill, which aims to raise the retirement age from 60 to 62 and the full state pension age from 65 to 67. The Senate is rushing voting on the bill which may become law any day now.

In Marseille rubbish has been piling in the streets since the rubbish collectors went on strike over a week ago. The top central government official in the region, Michel Sappin, has asked 150 members of the civil security force and the French foreign legion to clear the rubbish. Newswarped thinks picking up rat infested rubbish was not what the Legionnaires had in mind when they signed up.

Blockades of refineries and fuel depots have led to fuel shortages. Ecology Minister Jean-Louis Borloo said 2,790 gas stations had run out of fuel, down from 3,190 on Wednesday. Well I guess that is progress. Speaking of progress, around three quarters of high-speed TGV trains are now running, as are about half of all regional trains.

President Nicolas Sarkozy called for an end to the disruption and promised to punish rioters. Strong words Mr. Sakozy but newswarped advises not to use the Legionnaires in Marseille to crack down on them. Also please don’t get Carla Bruni to sing any songs that mention ‘cake’.

Even Lady Gaga has cancelled two shows in Paris. Not because she is in sympathy with the protesters, but because there was no guarantee the trucks with her stage and equipment would get through the blockades. Newswarped thinks this is wise beacuse an ‘unplugged’ show by Lady Gaga would not have quite the same impact for her fans.