French and Riviera News Wednesday 25th January 2023

News

Unions step up action against pension reform - Several sectors from education to energy are planning action against the French government pension reform. Following a national strike on January 19th unions have also called for a new day of strike action on Tuesday 31st January however, ahead of this date several unions from different sectors have reportedly filed other strike notices.

At the SNCF a strike notice has been filed from today January 25th to February 2nd. The SNCF unions have indicated that they will continue their movement with action running from today Wednesday January 25th at 7pm to 8am on Thursday, February 2nd.

In addition to this the CGT Cheminots and SUD-Rail on Tuesday proposed a renewable strike "from mid-February" at the SCNF, if the government did not withdraw its pension reform project.

Meanwhile oil refineries have planned action for tomorrow January 26th and Friday 27th as well as February 6th. The union does not rule out joining the movement on January 31st in addition to these dates.

The CGT federation of Ports and Docks in France has called for a 24-hour strike from Thursday January 26th while the CGT Mines-Energie has announced action on Thursday and Friday, including voluntary power cuts adding that it is prepared to “go to extremes until the withdrawal" of the pension reform. Again, this action is in addition to January 31st.

In schools, a mobilization will take place on January 31st and perhaps beyond as unions call for the movement to be extended beyond this date. Finally, the two main unions of ski lift employees, Force Ouvrière (FO) and the CGT, have filed strike notices for Tuesday January 31st, in order to protest against the pension reform, but also against the modification of the pension plan and unemployment insurance for seasonal workers.

Fast food restaurants failing to respect ban - According to the environmental association Zero Waste France, more than one in two fast food restaurants continue to use disposable tableware despite the ban since January 1st. Since January 1st, no more cardboard boxes or plastic cups in order to make way for reusable tableware in all establishments with more than twenty seats. While all the major fast-food chains, the first concerned by this measure, ensured that they were ready for its implementation according to the environmental association Zero Waste France, this is far from being the case. Between January 9th and January 22nd, Zero Waste France visited nearly 300 establishments from McDonald's, Quick, Burger King to KFC chains. The association claims to have found that 57% of the restaurants visited continued to use only disposable tableware despite its ban since the beginning of the year.

New air pollution indicators in Nice - AtmoSud has launched a new air pollution indicator with new cameras in Nice. The AtmoSud association, which celebrated its 50th anniversary in Marseille on Tuesday January 24th, is launching Icair, capable of measuring four pollutants hour by hour as well as the installation of cameras by this summer. AtmoSud has been measuring air quality in Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur for fifty years. 50 years during which technical progress has enabled it to refine its research.

Trees to be planted in Nice – Meanwhile, the city of Nice says it will plant 1,500 new trees as part of its plan to extend the green promenade along the Paillon. Works are currently under way, including the demolition of the Acropolis convention centre, to make way for another eight hectares of green space. The first of the new trees will be planted next year.

Famous flea market to close its doors - After 25 years of activity, this famous flea market on the Côte d'Azur is closing its doors and selling off its stock. After almost a quarter of a century of loyal service, the flea market of Troc en Stock, in Antibes, are bowing out. However before closing for good in March, their merchandise is on offer at half price. The popular flea market has counted some famous faces amongst its customers including artist Sacha Sosno and French actress Catherine Deneuve.

Open-air music festival - Toulon is working on plans to create a major new open-air music festival for summer 2024 attracting upwards of 10,000 concert-goers. Toulon Métropole, the publicly owned firm which organises events and congresses in the city, hopes to attract big international music acts to the Var city. Exact dates and details aren’t clear at this early stage - although the festival would likely be staggered over three or four separate dates in the summer next year, in the city centre itself, in the vicinity of the Zénith concert venue.

Let it snow! – Meanwhile, there has been an impressive amount of snowfall at Isola 2000 with more than a meter of snow in just 24 hours. Images have been posted on social media of the dense snow, which should delight ski enthusiasts in the Alpes Maritimes. According to weather experts an east to northeast wind which has swept the department in recent days, with gusts reaching 122 km / h in places, seems to have contributed to the heavy snowfall.

Fairmont hotel Monte-Carlo is hiring - Are you looking for a seasonal job? 200 positions are available at the Fairmont hotel in Monte-Carlo. The Fairmont luxury hotel in Monte-Carlo is launching its recruitment campaign for this summer. The key day will take place on February 9th. The hotel resort is located in the heart of the Principality of Monaco, near the legendary Casino of Monte-Carlo. It is in the Grand salon that the establishment's recruitment day will take place on February 9. It is one of the largest luxury hotels in Europe offering 596 rooms, suites and residences, but also an internationally renowned restaurant called Nobu, a Nikki Beach located on the roof top, a lounge also called roof top Horizon, an international restaurant with panoramic views, two bars, spa cabins, a fitness centre, a year-round heated swimming pool, eighteen meeting rooms and luxury boutiques. This summer, the establishment intends to strengthen its staff to carry out the upcoming summer season.  The starred hotel is indeed looking for qualified staff in the hotel and catering sectors, but also in sales, maintenance, or even service in a more general way. For more information on job vacancies: careers.accor.com/fr/fr/ga-monaco or by e-mail: fmc.recrutement@fairmont.com

Robber identified after accidently leaving copy of his CV behind - Finally, a jobseeker who stole cash from a van in Roquebrune-sur-Argens has been quickly identified by police - after he accidentally left a copy of his CV behind in the vehicle. The 20-year-old made off with €1,000 from a tradesman's van last week. In the rush to leave the scene of the crime, his resumé appears to have fallen out of his pocket. Police had no trouble identifying the thief, his address, not to mention his education, work history and hobbies. During questioning he reportedly confessed to five other similar thefts in the area over Christmas and the New Year. The man was given a one-year prison sentence - six months of which are suspended.

Business

Elon Musk who is on trial, after investors of his electric car company claimed a tweet in 2018 cost them millions of dollars when a deal did not go ahead, has told the court that he was trying to do the "right thing". Musk had tweeted a claim saying that he had enough backing to take Tesla private. Mr Musk claims that he had met with a Saudi Arabia sovereign wealth fund which indicated support for a deal. But he admitted he never discussed a specific funding amount. The tweet sent shares in Tesla soaring, but weeks later they fell back when Mr Musk said the plan was no longer going ahead, causing a significant backlash for the billionaire.

In the UK Amazon workers are to stage the first-ever UK strike against the online giant today in a protest over pay. Members of the GMB union are walking out at Amazon's Coventry warehouse. Workers told reporters about "severe" conditions, claiming they are constantly monitored with some workers, who are members of the GMB, saying that the robots in the warehouse "are treated better than them".

The boss of Eurostar has said its trains between the UK and Paris are carrying 30% fewer passengers. Its chief executive said with post-Brexit border checks and current levels of border staff, there were "bottlenecks" in stations. Eurostar is currently running 14 services per day between London and Paris, compared with 18 in 2019.

Swiss watch exports have hit a new record in 2022, climbing 11.4% year-on-year to 24.8 billion Swiss francs (24.7 billion euros). Beating their previous record of 2021 when the sector experienced a strong rebound after the shock of the pandemic and a demand for luxury products. 

And - Justin Bieber has sold his share of the rights to his music to Hipgnosis Songs Capital for a reported $200m. The firm now owns the pop star's stake in some of the biggest hits of recent years - including "Baby" and "Sorry". Bieber, one of the best-selling artists of the 21st Century, joins a growing group of artists who have cashed out on their catalogues. The move means Hipnosis will receive a payment every time a song they own part of is played in public.

Sport

Rugby Union - French police have detained rugby federation president Bernard Laporte for questioning as part of an investigation into suspected tax fraud. Earlier this month, Laporte stepped back from his role at the FFR without resigning after being convicted of unrelated corruption charges nine months before France hosts the Rugby World Cup. The fraud investigation dates back to August 2020. Tuesday's arrest and questioning of the official comes as 2,000 French rugby clubs vote on whether to accept Patrick Buisson as interim president to cover for Laporte, with the results expected on Thursday

Cricket - England coach Matthew Mott has said that the "door is open" for Ben Stokes to come out of 50-over retirement and play at the World Cup in India later this year. England Test captain Stokes, 31, retired from one-day internationals last summer to manage his workload. But the all-rounder did not rule out a U-turn last year amid calls for him to do so after he led England to victory in the T20 World Cup final. Mott said England are happy to wait on a decision.

Football - In the EFL Cup on Tuesday night Newcastle beat Southampton 1-0. This evening in the semi-final Nottingham Forest face Manchester United.

Weather

Sunny intervals and a moderate breeze with highs of 13 degrees in Monaco and Nice. 14 degrees in Cannes with a light wind. Saint Tropez and Toulon highs of 14 with sunny intervals. This evening going down to 3 degrees with clear skies.

The outlook for tomorrow and Friday. Sunny but feeling cooler with highs of 11 degrees.

Sunrise       07.54hr

Sunset        17.31hr

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