Paris sanitation workers suspend strike, will clear garbage to make protesting easier
Aurelien Morissard / AP

Parisian sanitation workers returned to work Wednesday amid heaps of garbage that piled up over their strike in protest against French President Emmanuel Macron’s unpopular pension bill.

Mounds of trash weighing up to 10,000 tons along the French capital’s streets—reportedly equal to the weight of the Eiffel Tower—have become a striking visual symbol of opposition to Macron’s dictatorial decree raising the retirement age from 62 to 64.

Clean-up crews began to clear the debris from streets following massive fresh protests on Tuesday. The garbage collectors’ suspension of the strike and their return to work is not a surrender to Macron, however.

CGT, the union federation representing sanitation workers, said its three-week-long strike was suspended to allow for more coordination with other workers “so we can go on strike again even more strongly.”

A protester sits on an overturned garbage bin during a protest in Paris, Wednesday, March 22, 2023. | Lewis Joly / AP

The streets will be cleaned and refuse hauled away as a service of solidarity for the people of Paris, who have stood by in strong support of the strike. Cleaning up the capital will make it easier for upcoming protests to coordinate and navigate the streets.

More than a million people took part in hundreds of demonstrations across France in the latest round of protest on Tuesday.

The CGT said at least 450,000 took to the streets in Paris which saw dozens of arrests as police continued their heavy-handed clampdown on protesters.

Unions insist the fight to have the pensions bill dropped is far from over and they have called for an 11th day of national protests on April 6.

This article originally appeared in Morning Star and has been supplemented with additional information.

We hope you appreciated this article. Before you go, please support great working-class and pro-people journalism by donating to People’s World.

We are not neutral. Our mission is to be a voice for truth, democracy, the environment, and socialism. We believe in people before profits. So, we take sides. Yours!

We are part of the pro-democracy media contesting the vast right-wing media propaganda ecosystem brainwashing tens of millions and putting democracy at risk.

Our journalism is free of corporate influence and paywalls because we are totally reader supported. At People’s World, we believe news and information should be free and accessible to all.

But we need your help. It takes money—a lot of it—to produce and cover unique stories you see in our pages. Only you, our readers and supporters, make this possible. If you enjoy reading People’s World and the stories we bring you, support our work by donating or becoming a monthly sustainer today.


Roger McKenzie
Roger McKenzie

Roger McKenzie is the International Editor of Morning Star, Britain’s daily socialist newspaper. He is the author of the book "African Uhuru: The Fight for African Freedom in the Rise of the Global South" published by Manifesto Press.