Rubbish piles up in streets of Paris as France’s pension battle enters final stretch

A protracted strike by rubbish collectors has added a new twist to France’s festering dispute over pension reform as the battle over President Emmanuel Macron’s deeply unpopular reform enters a make-or-break week with tonnes of uncollected garbage piling higher by the day.

“When the rubbish collectors go on strike, the trashers are indignant.” Jacques Prévert’s iconic play on words has long been a favourite slogan of the French left – and indeed of all advocates of workers’ right to lay down their tools in protest.

Two months into a bitter tussle over pension reform, and with garbage piling up in the streets of Paris and other cities, the French poet’s words resonate with a festering labour dispute that opponents of Macron’s reform have successfully reframed as a battle for social justice.

The fight over Macron’s flagship – and deeply unpopular – pension overhaul has now entered the final stretch, moving through tricky political territory in parliament even as unions and protesters continue to challenge it in the street.

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