The French government is stepping up its game in order to tackle the mounds of uncollected garbage littered across the City of Lights.
As politicians battle it out over who was to blame for the tons of trash piled up in the streets of the French capital, where garbage collectors have been on strike for 10 days, Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin intervened Tuesday evening saying he would force garbage collectors back to their jobs.
Darmanin warned Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo that, “given the sanitary conditions,” he intended to “requisition employees on strike” and force them to get back to work, the interior ministry told POLITICO’s Paris Playbook.
Should the mayor fail to act, the government “will step in in the next few hours,” the minister said.
Paris Deputy Mayor Colombe Brossel called the minister’s request “a new proof of the government’s contempt” for popular dissent, and said it interfered with workers’ constitutional right to strike.
The minister’s request “once again demonstrates that this government is incapable of dialogue and of assuming its responsibilities in the face of an unfair reform,” Brossel said.
Paris’ garbage workers have been on strike since March 6, in protest against a controversial pensions reform championed by French President Emmanuel Macron.
The reform, which could be formally adopted in Parliament by the end of the week, would increase the retirement age for garbage collectors from 57 to 59.
Garbage collectors’ unions decided to extend the strike until at least March 20 on Tuesday, when about 7,000 tons of trash were lying in the streets of Paris according to French newswire AFP.
In response, the mayor’s office said the garbage war would end if Macron’s government withdrew its pensions reform.