Paris bracing for giant rat plague as bin men still striking

President Macron and Rishi Sunak shake hands at UK-France summit

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Parisians have begun to fear for their health as rubbish piles have become a regular sight across the French capital. Bin men are just the latest to join in on the strike action against President Emmanuel Macron’s pension reforms which hope to bring the retirement age up by two years to 64.

Piles of smelly waste have started to obscure the city’s iconic landmarks.

Around 5,600 tons of uncollected rubbish litter the streets of the usually picturesque capital on Monday, according to Paris mayor’s office, quoted by French newswire AFP.

While many are sympathetic to the strikers, residents are beginning to worry about the sanitary risks.

Mathilde Boyer, 23, who lives in the southern 15th district, said: “It’s s****y, it’s not pretty and it smells.”

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If approved, President Macron’s reform will increase the age of retirement for bin men from 57 to 59 as rubbish collectors retire early with reduced benefits on account of the hardship of their work and lower life expectancy.

Concerningly, Paris is already one of the most rat-infested cities in the world, with 1.5 to 1.75 rats for every person living in the capital.

The shocking statistic prompted the French National Medicine Academy to issue a warning last July over the “threat to human health” the rats pose as well as the diseases they may carry.

Bin men are not the only group striking Macron’s widely unpopular pension reforms.

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Rail transport has been disrupted for days and France’s main refineries have been blocked as the workers protest.

Macron has been attempting to build support for the reforms as he faces a final parliamentary vote.

The President’s party requires the support of Les Republicains in the National Assembly in order for the controversial reform to be approved.

However, conservative lawmakers appear to be divided on the issue and there are even voices within the presidential camp opposing it with Macron’s former Environment Minister Barbara Pompili going against the idea.

Government spokesperson Olivier Veran told LCI television: “Some MPs are still hesitating, we must able to have a talk with them.”

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