The everyday misery behind Paris cleaning agents' strike


For the past three weeks, a group of about fifty cleaning agents employed in the upkeep of publicly-run subsidised social housing projects in Paris and its nearby suburbs have led a strike over pay and working conditions. The movement, which has received no press coverage, reveals the poor and widely ignored professional environment of a vulnerable workforce paid less than the monthly minimum fulltime wage. Mathilde Goanec reports.

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The only visibility of an ongoing strike by staff of a cleaning firm subcontracted in the maintenance of social housing buildings in and around Paris is a daily small gathering of the strikers on a pavement in eastern Paris. There they hold banners and flags to draw attention to what they denounce as dire working conditions and pay.