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France — Illegal temporary employees wreak havoc in Paris

16 October 2009
1,700 hundred temporary employees without official papers (sans papiers) have decided to go on strike in Paris with the support of unions and human rights groups, Le Monde reports.

The workers want to highlight the conditions under which they work on the refurbishment of Paris underground working nights only, using hazardous materials without appropriate safety at work protection for 80 Euro per day.
Last year the workers, most of whom are illegal immigrants from West African countries, were too frightened to join the 2008 great strike in France for fear of being deported.

This year they have invited the press, published an amateur video of their working conditions on www.france-info.com and are occupying 30 offices in Paris from a Paris underground depot to the offices of the temporary employment agencies they are working for, Crit and Adecco.

The agency workers are demanding to be legalised in France and to have their working conditions substantially improved.

Paris underground (RATP) has issued an official statement saying that "we can assure the public that to our knowledge none of our 5,000 suppliers employs workers who have no work and resident permit."

However, one of the strikers who arrived in France from Mali in 2000 and works under a false identity said, "I have already changed my name three or four times. My employer doesn't care. He also finds it difficult to believe that RATP and their sub-contractors L'Asten, who use temporary employment agencies, don't know about the conditions he and his colleagues are working under."

The strike situation is so chaotic that the Ministries for Immigration and Labour have now got involved.



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