French and Riviera News Wednesday 25th January 2023


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 dep