Rubbish piles up in Paris as pension strikes and protests continue



Garbage is mounting on the sidewalks in Paris after rubbish collectors continued with industrial action taken in opposition to the government's planned pension reforms.

It is the second week of strikes by the waste removal sector, meaning that many streets in Paris, Nantes in the west and the northern port of Le Havre have bags of rubbish piled up, along with overflowing recycling bins.

Strikes are continuing across many sectors in France against the government's planned pension reform.

The walkouts are in protest at plans to raise the retirement age from 62 to 64.

Rubbish collectors in France can currently retire at 57, because the job is classified as arduous work.

Under the government's planned reforms, they would only be able to retire from 59.

According to the CGT, one of France's biggest unions, garbage workers' life expectancy is 12 to 17 years below the national average.

Paris is often regarded as one of the world's most beautiful cities, but now officials say these rubbish dumps could become a public health risk, as well as being unsightly.

One of the leading figures from the union representing rubbish collectors says they will return to cleaning the streets if the reforms are scrapped – something the government says it has no intention of doing.

Meanwhile, another day of mass mobilization is due on Wednesday, when more than a million people are expected to demonstrate across the country.

It will be another major show of opposition to the government's proposed legislation to raise the retirement age and to streamline some of the special pensions schemes in different professions.

The proposed legislation is potentially heading for a final vote in parliament later this week.