INTRODUCTION: The French army has been called in to collect rubbish from the streets of Paris after the city's dustmen voted on Tuesday (26 April) to continue their five-day-old strike.
INTRODUCTION: The French army has been called in to collect rubbish from the streets of Paris after the city's dustmen voted on Tuesday (26 April) to continue their five-day-old strike. The dustmen stopped work demanding better pay and conditions.
SYNOPSIS: The mounting piles of rubbish provided Paris's newly-elected mayor, Jacques Chirac, with his first real test of authority. The strike was unexpected, and M. Chirac himself had to begin negotiations with union leaders.
On Monday, M. Chirac said the government had agreed to an extra allowance of fifteen and half percent to cover c??? of early morning work when there's no public transport. Unconfirmed reports also said the Paris Council was prepared to increase the dustmen's monthly basic salary by 50 francs (about 6.0 sterling).
After calling out the army, M. Chirac told the strikers he had sought improvements for them as early as April last year when he was then Prime Minister. He said he was well aware of the urgency of increasing the early morning work bonus.
The strike comes at a time when the government is trying to improve industrial relations, and curb France's record unemployment rate. Prime Minister Raymond Barre has announced a four thousand million franc (500 million sterling) plan, which he has described a "national employment pact, primarily for the young". It's hoped it will create more than 200,000 jobs in both public and private sectors, and it offers incentives for employers who hire young workers. Unemployment and labour relations are expected to be major issues in the French general elections, less than a year away.