- Visitors coming to Paris for the start of the major Euro 2016 soccer tournament will find many of the city's streets filled with garbage. The city generates an estimated 3,000 tons of waste per day.
- A strike by the CGT union has effectively stopped curbside collection in half of the city, including tourist destinations such as the Latin Quarter, since Monday.
- Workers have blocked access to the country's largest incinerator on the edge of the city, along with numerous waste-related sites and truck garages. Police were called to intervene and reopen access to two garages.
This strike comes as the country also experiences strikes from railway, airline, electrical and oil refinery employees. At issue is the proposed El Khomri law, set to be debated next week, which would enact significant labor reforms. Under the law companies could renegotiate contracts and terminate employees more easily. The proposal's stated goal is to get France's high unemployment rate below 10%.
Waste workers previously went on strike in October 2015 over complaints of low wages and lack of promotion opportunities. Strikes in the U.S. waste industry are much less common, with many union employees earning good salaries and benefits. Questions have been raised about pay rates and working conditions among non-union workers in some areas, particularly New York's commercial waste industry.
Unlike places such as Lebanon, which has been experiencing a major trash collection crisis, France will likely find a way to resolve this issue as soon as possible. Regardless of the outcome, at the very least it will serve as a striking reminder to the public about how much waste is generated and the valuable role haulers play in maintaining sanitary living conditions by collecting it in a timely fashion.