Thursday, March 30, 2023

Macron’s pension reform, in the final stretch with pressure from the garbage

The parliamentary process of the French pension reform enters its final stretch tomorrow, Wednesday, amid continuous protests from the opposition and unions, with the Paris garbage strike as a visible example of worker discontent.

More than 7,000 tons of rubbish accumulate today on the sidewalks of the capital, and although the strike only affects half of its twenty districts, it has become a real problem in the affected areas, manifested, for example, in the rat proliferation.

The garbage collectors’ strike also affects several large (Nantes, Rennes and Nice) and medium-sized (Montpellier, Le Havre, Saint-Brieuc and Vallauris) cities, but it is in Paris where it has taken on the most prominence due to its obvious political ramifications.

The mayoress of the capital, the socialist Anne Hidalgo, has been the repeated target of criticism from members of the Government, who reproach her for favoring the situation to rot by not resorting to private companies to remove the garbage due to the strike of municipal workers , responsible for the task in ten of the twenty districts of the city.

“It is Anne Hidalgo herself who is on strike. She does nothing, and in a situation like this, nothing can be done ”, denounced today the Minister of Transport, Clément Beaune, who appears as one of the candidates for mayor in the next election.

The sidewalks of large areas of the French capital are littered with accumulated rubbish, so as not to interfere with circulation, among the conflicting voices of citizens who understand the protest and others who criticize its impact on daily life.

The problem is not limited to garbage collection, but there are pickets blocking access to the three waste incinerators in the Paris metropolitan area, located in Issy les Moulineaux, Ivry sur Seine and Saint Ouen.

Different voices from the right ask that the Government force a return to work for health reasons.

final stretch in parliament

Other strikes will be added to that of the garbage services on Wednesday, such as those of a part of the air traffic controllers who are going to force the cancellation of 20% of the flights at the Parisian airport of Orly, coinciding with the final stretch of the parliamentary process to approve the pension reform, which is increasingly complex for the Government.

Tomorrow, which is also the eighth day of union demonstrations, the National Assembly-Senate joint commission (formed by seven parliamentarians from each chamber) meets to agree on a common text.

The president of the National Assembly, the macronist Yaël Braun-Pivot, today rejected that this debate be broadcast on television, as the leftist opposition had requested so that citizens could see the position of each of the members of that group live. commission.

The text that comes out of there (there are six members of the Macronista bloc parties and four of the conservative Los Republicanos, LR, which has allied itself with the Government in this matter) will then be submitted for debate and vote in both chambers on Thursday. In the Senate from 09:00 local time and in the Assembly from 15:00.

These sessions appear very stormy and under pressure, since the leaders of the main unions have announced that they will demonstrate in front of the headquarters of the National Assembly.

In addition, despite the fact that the Macronista bloc and the LR have an absolute majority in both chambers (287 in the Assembly), an appreciable number of their legislators have not yet guaranteed their favorable vote, which jeopardizes the success of the vote. .

According to calculations by the French media, there are only about 281 deputies in favor of the reform, but the Prime Minister, Elisabeth Borne, assured today that “the majority exists”, although just in case she threw a hook at the undecided to tell them that the An affirmative vote for the reform “does not imply support for the Government”.

In these uncertain circumstances, the Executive does not rule out resorting again to the controversial article 49.3 of the Constitution, which allows it to approve texts without a vote, but which can generate a very large political cost for Macron and his movement.


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