#FrenchCulture – Even Garbage Collectors Go on Strike in France

Garbage strike in Lyon, France

I am yet to encounter a culture/country that strikes as consistently and widespread as France. French industries are heavily unionised and workers are always ready and willing to demonstrate their rights  (as they should be).

For the French, going on strike is a rite of passage, a beloved past-time…an art form.

Pick a card business or choose any industry of your wildest dreams and there will be a union…and a strike. Strikes can be so well organised that there will be a timetable or schedule of the days/hours for the strike will be distributed tot he public weeks in advance.

The Garbage Collectors went on STRIKE for about 21 days. Ya heard me…NO garbage collection for almost a month. And lemme just state the obvious…things really stink around here.

Check-Check Check it out…

Garbage strike in Lyon, France
7th Arrondissement in Lyon, France. ©Photopqr/Le Proges/Philippon Joel


France Retirement Strikes
Garbage Collection Strike in Marseille, France. Photo source: AcidCow


Garbage strike in Toulouse, FRance
Garbage strike in Toulouse, France

This is my second “garbage strike” in France…so far. My first month of moving to France, we had a garbage strike in my city, Toulouse, in the south of France. Two years later, I moved to Lyon and they’re having their own garbage strike.

What I found really interesting and slightly odd was that in Lyon, although the garbage collectors were on strike and rubbish was piling up everywhere, the street sweepers came and swept the road every morning. They would sweep the rubbish into their little shovels and then dump it on top of the existing pile of uncollected garbage. It was so hilarious to watch. I mean every morning, without fail, they would do this.

The “logic” was that the street sweepers and garbage collectors were not working for the same company so they had to carry on with their jobs (poor things!). If I understood all the french I overheard on the metro correctly then the street sweepers are apparently run by a private company and the garbage collectors are publicly owned. And well, if you know anything about the French, you’ll know that they are constantly pissed off with the government.

Have you ever experienced a “garbage strike” in France or where you live?  



One thought on “#FrenchCulture – Even Garbage Collectors Go on Strike in France

  1. One reader posted on my fb page: “hehehehe ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh the good ole fench..while was studying in Martinique the post office went on strike the day AFTER i opened an account and ddeposited every cent I had in it. well let me tell you, by the end of the first week I was out there striking too but not for the same reason. three weeks they were out, then the banks, teachers garbage collectors…..shut the country down almost FOUR months. nobody strike like the french” – Hol Samuels [13/04/2012 at 12:07am]


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