Garbage Buries France As Labor Strikes Continue

Euro 2016 is underway in France and while the transportation strikes have been difficult to deal with, one problem is starting to come to the forefront: garbage.

Among the strikes that have taken place by workers, perhaps the one that's been least talked about - until now - is that of the garbage collectors. A days old garbage strike is causing garbage to line the streets of Paris, just as millions of visitors are expected to visit for the Euro tournament.

Due to embarrassment, and the fact that business has been lost, locals are growing increasingly frustrated the NYT reports.

"We've seen everything. First the attacks, then the floods, and now this." said Julien Collard, who helps his father run a restaurant, Cafe de la Tourelle, adding "It's disgusting. It stinks, and it brings rats. People see this, and they walk away."

"This, all this, it's not good for tourists. We've got a lovely country here. But this is how we welcome people? And then, when the tourists get drunk, they'll start messing with it." said Omar Anraui, who was looking at the overflowing garbage cans from a bar down the street from Collard's cafe.

Not all of Paris is covered in garbage however, half the city's 20 districts are served by private companies that continue to collect the trash, and Paris's City Hall on Friday announced the deployment of additional garbage trucks, promising the rest of the city would be cleaned up soon. Locals and tourists alike have a lot riding on that promise, because CGT leader Philippe Martinez said the strikes will continue, and the demonstration that is being called for Tuesday will be "enormous."

"We started with demonstrations, we did one, two, three, four. They didn't listen to us. At a certain point the workers got mad and went on strike." said Martinez.

There appears to be no end in site for the standoff between the government and the protesting workers. Prime Minister Manuel Valls (the one who originally helped president Hollande slam through labor reforms using an article of the constitution that allowed the government to bypass parliament, kicking off this entire debacle in the first place) said "I want these strikes to end as quickly as possible." While ironically pointing out "There's a debate in the union movement between those who are interested in dialogue, and those who are not. There is also a debate in French socialism. How do we reform in this country? Can a minority block? Reform is possible. It's a question of political will."

As Carole Cossart, who works at an art gallery near the cafe puts it: "This isn't exactly the best way to welcome the Euro, is it?" - no, sadly it is not, and given that there is no resolution in sight, the smell of garbage and transportation delays will inevitably continue. But for now, at least as a short-term relief for the people of France, France won its starting match over Romania.