- Title: Striking firemen protest working conditions in Paris
- Date: 15th October 2019
- Summary: PARIS, FRANCE (OCTOBER 15, 2019) (REUTERS) FIREFIGHTERS' SIREN FIREFIGHTERS GATHERED IN PLACE DE LA REPUBLIQUE SEEN THROUGH SMOKE FIREFIGHTERS WAVING FLAGS FROM STATUE FIREFIGHTERS GATHERED PLACARD READING (French): "FIREFIGHTERS ARE ANGRY" BANNER ON STATUE FIREFIGHTERS AROUND STATUE IN SQUARE (SOUNDBITE) (French) 45-YEAR-OLD FIREFIGHTER FROM THE CFDT UNION, BASED IN AIN AREA OF EASTERN FRANCE, SEBASTIEN BOUVIER, SAYING: "Unfortunately, today we can see the whole of the public sector is suffering, be it the hospitals or the police with their protest last week, today the firemen. And yes, we (the firefighters) are suffering because of what's happening in the hospitals too, because of the lack of doctors. On the ground we're the first link in the chain, so you call the firefighters for everything and nothing. You get an answer from the 18 (telephone number for the fire service) and we go." (SOUNDBITE) (French) 51-YEAR-OLD FIREFIGHTER FROM THE CGT UNION, BASED IN MARNE AREA OF EASTERN FRANCE, MARIO SANTIN, SAYING: "There is an impact on our service. Firefighters are worn out and there is a lack motivation when we have to intervene in minor incidents, things which are not life threatening. It also means our teams who should be assigned to emergencies are instead working as ambulances which means there are delays when we're responding to real emergencies." FIREFIGHTERS WAVING FLAGS SIGN ON BACK READING (French): "FIREFIGHTERS ON STRIKE" ORANGE SMOKE (SOUNDBITE) (French) 46-YEAR-OLD FIREFIGHTER FROM AUBAGNE IN SOUTHERN FRANCE, ERIC BREZAULT, SAYING: "There is real anger and the problem is we're not listened to. That's why people are getting more angry and it's starting to get violent. The (Interior) minister (Christophe Castaner) needs to listen to us and understand how angry firefighters are." VARIOUS OF FIREFIGHTERS MARCHING FIREFIGHTERS SEEN THROUGH SMOKE FIREFIGHTERS LYING IN STREET VARIOUS OF FIREFIGHTERS MARCHING
- Embargoed: 29th October 2019 14:23
- Keywords: firefighters firemen protest demo working conditions Paris protest
- Location: PARIS, FRANCE
- City: PARIS, FRANCE
- Country: France
- Topics: Government/Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA001B17HOAV
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text:Thousands of firefighters from across France descended on Paris on Tuesday (October 15) after more than three months of fruitless strikes over working conditions they say imperil their profession and the public.
Unions are calling for increased pay, protection of their pension benefits under government reforms and greater respect for their profession which they say is increasingly being relied on to fill gaps elsewhere in the public sector.
As well as fighting fires, firemen in France also intervene in road traffic accidents and medical emergencies but they say they are increasingly being called out for non-urgent health problems because of a lack of ambulances and doctors, particularly in rural areas.
"On the ground we're the first link in the chain, so you call the firefighters for everything and nothing," representative of the CFDT union Sebastien Bouvier told Reuters.
Such mission creep has a knock-on effect on the speed with which they can respond to real emergencies, with fire engines frequently sent out inadequately staffed, Bouvier added.
Unions say that so far, their strike has fallen on deaf ears though a meeting was scheduled at the interior ministry to discuss their working conditions on Tuesday afternoon.
(Production: Antony Paone, Clotaire Achi, Johnny Cotton)
- Copyright Holder: REUTERS
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