Rubbish piles up in Paris as workers protest ahead of Euros

Protests against plans to reform labour law led by CGT union disrupts train services

A waiter stands near a pile of rubbish bags in front of the Cafe de Flore in Paris on Wednesday, as a strike by garbage collectors continued. Photograph: Charles Platiau/Reuters

A waiter stands near a pile of rubbish bags in front of the Cafe de Flore in Paris on Wednesday, as a strike by garbage collectors continued. Photograph: Charles Platiau/Reuters

 

Rubbish piled up on streets in parts of Paris and other French cities on Wednesday as strikes and pickets by waste treatment workers took a toll in the country which hosts the Euro 2016 soccer tournament from Friday.

The protests were part of a wave of demonstrations and work stoppages led by the hardline CGT union against government plans to reform labour law to make hiring and firing easier.

Police removed blockades at some of the major incineration and rubbish collection depots around the capital but to little effect because workers inside the premises subsequently walked off work, the CGT said.

Despite signs that broader action is running out of steam, train services were disrupted for the eighth day running.

The SNCF state railway company said less than 10 per cent of workers were on strike, considerably fewer than last week, with three out of four high-speed TGV trains running and six out of 10 slower inter-city connections.

Working to defuse the conflict, prime minister Manuel Valls told parliament the state could take over all or part of an SNCF debt of €50 billion.

The CGT was holding workplace meetings to decide whether to call off the strike.

As millions of football fans prepared for the month-long tournament, CGT activists also disrupted a pre-championship publicity event at Paris’s Gare du Nord train station. – Reuters