- Title: FRANCE: Garbage truck pensions protest blocks Marseille
- Date: 23rd October 2010
- Summary: MARSEILLE, FRANCE (OCTOBER 22, 2010) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF RED BALLOONS WITH "PENSION" WRITTEN ON IT (IN FRENCH) VARIOUS OF BIN LORRIES BLOCKING ROAD / VEHICLES SOUNDING HORNS (SOUNDBITE) (French) PATRICK RUE, SECRETARY GENERAL OF THE MARSEILLE BRANCH OF THE FO UNION, SAYING: "They are only answering through force. Even in the refineries employees were forced to go to work. We are expecting them to do the same to us. If the only way to be heard is to protest in the street, then we will do it. They are talking about dialogue and negotiations. Where are they? (JOURNALIST ASKING IF THEY WILL COLLECT THE GARBAGE) This is not new." CARS STUCK BEHIND BIN LORRIES BANNER ON GARBAGE TRUCK ROAD BLOCKED BY GARBAGE TRUCK (SOUNDBITE) (French) DRIVER, NAME UNKNOWN, SAYING: "I understand. We have to try but they (the strikes) should affect the government and not us. We are citizens. We work. It's really complicated." (SOUNDBITE) (French) DRIVER, NAME UNKNOWN, SAYING: "It's ridiculous. It makes France look ridiculous. It's not going to bring anything. Economically it's a catastrophe. I am ashamed to be French." VARIOUS OF GARBAGE LORRIES IN ROAD VARIOUS OF GARBAGE HEAPED UP BESIDE TREE
- Embargoed: 7th November 2010 09:36
- Location: France
- Country: France
- Topics: Domestic Politics,Social Services / Welfare
- Reuters ID: LVA5JOQZZJV1FFKC7Z7D35RBDPCM
- Aspect Ratio: 4:3
- Story Text: Garbage workers block the streets of France's second largest city, Marseille, with their lorries in protest at government pension reform plans.
Garbage workers in the southern French city of Marseille joined nation-wide strikes on Friday (October 22) against the government's pension reform plans.
Workers blocked streets with around 50 garbage lorries in the city centre, bringing traffic to a standstill in France's second largest city.
They have been on strike since October 12 and thousands of tonnes of rubbish have been piling up across the city.
"They are only answering by force. Even in the refineries employees were forced to go to work. We are expecting them to do the same to us. If the only way to be heard is to protest in the street, then we will do it. They are talking about dialogue and negotiations. Where are they?," Patrick Rue from the FO trade Union said.
But some of the travellers caught in the traffic jam were less than sympathetic.
"It's ridiculous. It makes France look ridiculous. It's not going to bring anything. Economically it's a catastrophe. I am ashamed to be French," one man said.
"I understand. We have to try but they (the strikes) should affect the government and not us. We are citizens. We work. It's really complicated," a woman stuck in her car said.
Earlier French police used force to clear access to the main refinery supplying fuel to Paris as unions hardened their stance ahead of a final vote on President Nicolas Sarkozy's pension reform expected later in the day.
Signalling their determination to keep fighting even after the reform has become law, the country's six main unions have called for two more days of action over the next 10 days against the unpopular reform.
The government resorted to a special measure to speed the reform bill's passage through the Senate, with a vote now due on Friday evening as pressure builds on Sarkozy to end the long-running impasse with the unions ahead of half-term holidays beginning this weekend.
In addition to transport disruptions, the president is battling 11-day-old refinery strikes and fuel depot blockades that have forced the closure of one in five petrol stations across the country, Energy Minister Jean-Louis Borloo said.
Sarkozy wants the bill -- which would raise the minimum age of retirement to 62 from 60 and the maximum age for a full pension to 67 from 65 -- passed quickly in the hope that protests will ease once it has become law.
Previous street protests have been largely peaceful, except for episodic flare-ups of violence in the wealthy city of Lyon and in Nanterre in the Paris suburbs, where youths clashed with police again on Thursday (October 21).
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