Life on the Smic - how people in France cope on the minimum wage

The French minimum wage, the Salaire minimum interprofessionnel de croissance or Smic, went up by 2% on July 1st, causing a political row. Some say the rise is an extra burden on businesses. Critics on the Left say the increase is far too small. But what impact will it have in practice on the purchasing power of those on or slightly above this basic level of income? How do you live on little more than 1,000 euros a month? Mediapart interviewed people living in different parts of the country on or close to the minimum wage to find out. Valentine Oberti, Ellen Salvi and Rachida El Azzouzi report.

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The French minimum wage, the Salaire minimum interprofessionnel de croissance or Smic as it is invariably called, went up by 2% on July 1st. In practice this means the minimum wage is going up to 1,425.67 euros a month before employees' social charges and around 1,118 euros net of social charges for those in full-time work.