10,000 tonnes of trash piles up in Paris as unions want more strikes

There’s an estimated 10,000 tonnes of uncollected trash piling up on the streets of the French capital, as unions call for more weekend protests and strike action against controversial pension reforms. 

Hundreds of people have been arrested in Paris after two nights of protests, according to the Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin, while demonstrations spread to Rennes, Nantes, Lyon and Marseille after President Emmanuel Macron used a legislative loophole to force through reforms of French pension laws which would see the retirement age raised to 64.

French opposition parties have now submitted a no-confidence motion in an attempt to topple Macron’s government over his pension reform.

Unions have called for more localised protests over the weekend with strikes are already planned for next week. 

Flight cancellations expected, with up to 30% of flights at Paris-Orly Airport and 20% of flights at Marseille-Provence Airport distrupted by an air traffic controllers’ strike. 

SNCF railway unions have called for industrial action to continue, with widespread cancellations anticipated next Thursday on long distance train routes and on the Paris metro; while suburban rail journeys in Paris are already affected by strikes this weekend. 

Oil refineries have started to close down from Saturday, as employees of TotalEnergies go on strike — action which could eventually hit petrol pumps around the country. 

Unions representing electricity and gas workers have decided to strike next week as well, calling for “the maximum disruption of work.” 

In the port of Le Havre, officers and sailors who operate tug boats stayed on shore Friday, considerably disrupting all activity in the port: with container ships, LNG carriers, and oil tankers not able to enter or leave the harbour. 

In Calais, ferry traffic to the UK was completely stopped on Friday morning. 

Meanwhile an ongoing strike in Paris by garbage collectors means there’s an estimated 10,000 tonnes of trash piling up on sidewalks, according to City Hall.

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