'You can't work underground over the age of 60': why Marseille's sewer staff oppose pension reform

Retraites — Report

Unlike their counterparts in Paris, who can retire at the age of 52, sewer workers in Marseille are employed by a private company. This means they have to keep working until they reach 62 – and this will increase to 64 if the current pension reform plans are passed. These workers in the Mediterranean city are bitterly opposed to any extension of their retirement age and believe they should be able to end their careers earlier, not later. They described their cramped, smelly and hazardous subterranean working life to Khedidja Zerouali.

How people power during a bin strike helped end a union's dominance in Marseille


A 16-day strike by refuse collectors has just come to an end in the southern French city of Marseille. It was the third such stoppage there in three months and on the surface it was yet another routine dispute involving municipal staff in a city that is no stranger to industrial strife. But in reality the deal struck between the local authority and union officials, which came amid growing anger from local residents at the state of the Mediterranean city's streets, has ended an unwritten and cosy arrangement between City Hall and a favoured trade union that stretches back more than seven decades. Some observers have described the outcome as no less than a “revolution”. Olivier Bertrand explains.

Ethical dilemma: French patients could be denied ICU access as Covid cases rise

France — Investigation

Mediapart has seen a document in which doctors in the south of France are drawing up plans to decide which patients will be admitted to hospital intensive care units - and which will not - amid fears that the current wave of Covid-19 cases could overwhelm them. The revelation comes as France recorded 179,807 Covid cases in a single day. According to the working document, if the situation worsens ICU staff in Marseille and across the southern region of PACA could refuse admission to frail patients over 65. Meanwhile doctors have told Mediapart of their concern over the ethical issues they will face if they have to deny patients healthcare. Pascale Pascariello reports.

French far-right polemicist gives 'the finger' on campaign tour

France — Link

Far-right polemicist Éric Zemmour, who is forecast to announce this week he is standing in France's 2022 presidential elections,  has admittted he was 'inelegant' in returning a middle-finger gesture to a woman during his campaigning in Marseille, when he joined the gesture with the comment, 'and very deep'.

Tears and anger as reluctant nurses get Covid vaccine to meet French state's deadline


September 15th 2021 was the deadline for all healthcare professionals and many other workers in France to be fully vaccinated against Covid-19. The list of those subject to mandatory vaccination includes non-medical staff in hospitals, gendarmes, firefighters, ambulance staff and home carers. Those who fail to comply by the deadline will face being suspended without pay. As today's deadline loomed, hospitals were trying to persuade the last remaining reluctant staff members to get their vaccinations. Many in the medical profession, while fully supporting vaccination, see the obligatory nature of the injections as a major policy failure. Caroline Coq-Chodorge spoke to some involved in this last-minute race for vaccination.

Saving biodiversity 'just as crucial' as tackling climate change, says French academic

International — Interview

The International Union for Conservation of Nature, which is currently holding its annual conference at Marseille in the south of France, has hit the headlines for its latest update on the number of animal species which face imminent extinction on the planet. But there are some experts who query whether the NGO's conserving strategy of preserving species in designated areas such as natural parks is the right one. Mediapart spoke with French geographer Estienne Rodary who argues that this modernist and colonial approach to the environment has become outdated in an inter-connected world. He says that the issues of biodiversity and climate change are interlinked and that when it comes to conserving nature the “carbon cost” of any policies needs to be taken into account. Amélie Poinssot reports.

Macron unveils 1.5bln-euro plan to tackle social crises in Marseille

France — Link

French President Emmanuel Macron, who on Wednesday began a three-day visit to Marseille, has detailed state financing of around 1.5 billion euros to tackle mounting social and security crises in the Mediterranean port city that is increasingly making headlines for incidents of violent crime to a backdrop of failing schools, high unemployment,  insalubrious lodgings and an inadequate transport infrastructure.

Children sucked into the deadly Marseille drugs wars

France — Link

The infamous turf wars of drugs dealers in the Mediterranean port of Marseille has escalated this year with the killings of ever-younger victims, prompting French President Emmanuel Macron to visit the city on Wednesday. 

Three dead in Marseille shootout: 'guns too easy to buy' says mayor

France — Link

Two victims aged 25 and 26 were killed in the first shootout around midnight in the 14th district of the city; elsewhere, a 27 year-old man was kidnapped in the 4th district after a second shootout and was burnt alive in his car.

Storm after unmasked thousands join illegal carnival in Marseille

France — Link

There has been widespread condemnation by the French government, medical professionals and local politicians after more than 6,000 mostly young people, many unmasked, flouted lockdown measures in Marseille to join an illegal carnival through the streets of the southern port city.

France in race to contain new Covid-19 variant, speed up vaccine rollout

France — Link

Marseille mayorsaid seven to eight people had tested positive for the new variant in the city, while tests were underway on 30 others who may also have been exposed to it.

Tensions mount in southern France over new virus lockdown measures

France — Link

The French government's attempt to contain a significant resurgence of infections of the novel coronavirus, with measures including early closing of bars and restaurants, is facing strong opposition in the southern city of Marseille and its neighbouring region, with local politicians and proprietors warning of a popular revolt.  

Marseille's Covid-19 hospital beds 'close to saturation'

France — Link

New limits on gatherings are being introduced around Marseille and in the south-western city of Bordeaux, two major virus hot sports.

French minister condemns crowded Marseille football celebrations

France — Link

Olympique Marseille earned a 1-0 away win at Ligue 1 champions and arch rivals Paris St Germain, sparking the celebrations on Marseille’s Vieux Port.

France declares Paris and Marseille high-risk Covid zones

France — Link

France has reported more than 2,500 new COVID-19 infections for the second day in a row, levels only last seen since mid-April.