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Marseille hires private garbage collectors as trash piles up

Marseille hires private garbage collectors as trash piles up

Marseille hired private companies to pick-up trash after a strike of garbage collectors left the city with overflowing bins and rats running through piles.

Marseille will face a third strike of garbage workers in four month’s time. This is a repeat of the environmental disaster caused by torrential rains that swept tonnes of uncollected garbage onto the beaches and into Mediterranean waters in October. In protest at the authorities, some people are setting fire to trash.

“Everything is in position to push us towards security and environmental drama,” Marseille mayor Benoit Payan stated in a Monday statement. By hiring private firms, the socialist mayor is circumventing the conservative-run Aix-Marseille-Provence metropolitan authority, which runs regional waste collection.

French media reported that only a few tons of waste had been collected so far by private companies, leaving thousands of tonnes of garbage on the streets of France’s second-largest city. Alexandre Mounier, head, “1 dechet per jour” (One piece a day) environmental volunteer group, stated that there is trash everywhere and that the trash that flies away will end-up directly in the ocean.

He asked people to keep their trash inside for now, or at the very least to put it in closed containers so it doesn’t go out to sea. Marseille has been the victim of garbage collectors’ strikes almost every year for the past decade. Much of the conflict was focused on the attempts by metropolitan authorities to end the decades-old “fini parti” (finished gone) system that allows staff to end their shift when they consider their work complete.

According to a regional audit body, Marseilles’ refuse collectors would work only 3.5 hours per day under this system. French media reported that the majority of unions reached an agreement to end “fini-parti” in December. However, the left-wing Force Ouvriere union contested the deal, and its members are preventing garbage trucks leaving collection centres.

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Marseille Force Ouvriere head Patrick Rué told reporters for French media on Tuesday that the strike will continue as talks are deadlocked.

(This story is not edited by Devdiscourse staff.

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