Paris Garbage Workers to Suspend Strike Against Pension Reform

(Bloomberg) -- After days of walking around bins overflowing with uncollected rubbish, Parisians may soon hear the familiar rumble of garbage trucks making the rounds to pick up the trash in their neighborhoods.

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Garbage workers in the French capital are suspending their strike against pension reform starting Wednesday due to a dwindling number of strikers, easing a long standoff that has left the city with heaps of garbage for weeks.

The CGT union’s public services branch plans further discussions with various sector workers in order to “go on a bigger strike,” but faces a shortage of strikers, it said in a statement Tuesday.

The suspension came as unions held a 10th day of nationwide protests on Tuesday in an effort to force President Emmanuel Macron to reverse his unpopular plan to raise the minimum retirement age to 64 from 62. Mounds of garbage in the streets have been among the most visible signs of the protests.

Half of the 20 arrondissements in Paris rely on municipal workers for garbage collection, and the other half on private contractors.

Even before the formal calling off of the strike, the amount of trash had begun to fall as some garbage collection was resumed. The amount of trash on the streets dropped for the fourth straight day on Tuesday to 7,000 metric tons, from a daily peak of 10,000 tons last week.

Garbage trucks were circulating across the city and cleanup activities were returning to normal, the city said. Workers also resorted to heavy machinery to speed up garbage collection in the 6th arrondissement.

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