Garbage cans piling up in several Parisian districts, but also in several cities in the West (Saint-Brieuc, Nantes, Rennes, etc.) or in the South (Montpellier, Marseille, Antibes, etc.): garbage collectors are at the forefront of the struggle against pension reform. And for lack of household waste collection, their mobilization is beginning to be felt.
In the capital, one out of two arrondissements is concerned, where the removal of household waste is carried out under the supervision of the Paris City Hall. The “ripeurs”, those who are in the back of the trucks and pick up the dumpsters, are here territorial civil servants who, because of the arduousness of their work, come under the “active categories” who can retire from the age of 57, subject to a minimum service period of seventeen years. The reform plans to raise this retirement age to 59 years.
Little concerned by the criteria of arduousness
But communities increasingly delegating collection to the private sector, many garbage collectors are not civil servants. They therefore retire at 62 – and therefore 64 years after the reform. The carrying of heavy loads having been excluded in 2017, they are only marginally concerned by the hardship criteria, with the exception of night work if they work at least one hour between midnight and 5 a.m., and at least 120 nights per year.
In June 2022, a publication of the Annales des Mines estimated that a team “ripeur” had an average round of 6 hours 40 minutes, during which he walked 44.6 km, which increased his heart rate by 28.8 beats per minute, just below the threshold of 30 defining “exceptional physical strain”. But in the event that the ripper finds himself alone behind the truck, the round goes to 7:15 a.m., or 58.3 km and a heart rate increased by 38.8 beats per minute…
Lower life expectancy than unskilled workers
In a 2004 study for the National Conservatory of Arts and Crafts, the specialist in working conditions Serge Volkoff highlighted a mortality rate for garbage collectors “significantly higher” than the average for territorial personnel. He also calculated that the life expectancy at age 60 for garbage collectors was 16 years, compared to 19.4 years for the rest of the territorial civil servants. Lower still than that of unskilled workers (17 years).
This explains the mobilization of garbage collectors who, in the capital, are also in the midst of wage negotiations with the mayor of Paris, after the latter was forced to raise their working time from 1,552 hours per year to 1 607.
A challenge for the union of Parisian garbage collectors
A strong challenge for their union, the CGT-FTDNEEA which also wants to give voice to a fortnight before the CGT congress in Clermont-Ferrand, where Philippe Martinez must hand over to Marie Buisson. This is contested by the most orthodox federations of the central.
Among these opponents, who do not hide their closeness to the World Federation of Trade Unions, where the North Korean single union or the Central Workers of Cuba sit, is precisely the CGT of the Parisian garbage collectors.
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