Politics

France Announces Bonuses in Bid to Avoid Paris Olympics Strikes

NICE, France (AP) – The French government will offer bonuses to civil servants deployed across the capital during the Olympic and Paralympic Games in a bid to avoid strikes during the events this summer, the country’s Minister for Transformation and Public Administration, Stanislas Guerini, said Saturday.

Eligible employees will get a bonus ranging from 500 euros ($547) to 1,500 euros ($1,641) – in addition to their salaries – for working during the Summer Games in Paris and the ensuing Paralympics, Guerini said. He did not provide details on the criteria for the payments.

The announcement came after a major French union warned of possible strikes, including at hospitals, during the Paris Olympics, when massive influx of people is expected in the French capital.

The social situation in France remains tense, amid recent protests from teachers, police officers and farmers that followed huge demonstrations last year against the rise in retirement age.

Last month, employees at the Eiffel Tower shut down one of the world’s most visited sites for six days with a strike, demanding not only salary hikes but also better maintenance of the historic landmark.

The 135-year-old tower will feature prominently in the Summer Games. The Olympic and Paralympic medals are being embedded with pieces from a hexagonal chunk of iron taken from the historic landmark.

Paris’s tourism office estimates that close to 16 million people could visit the region during July-September.

Thousands of workers will be impacted by working longer hours and postponing their holidays.

Sophie Binet, the general secretary of the CGT union, called on the government to take action and ensure the social needs of the employees are met.

Guerini, the transformation and public administration minister, said the government is working on a plan to compensate the employees’ work and ensure their children have proper care.

The government will set up nurseries for civil servants on duty during the Games, and will allocate 1,000 spots in summer camps to help working parents with children on school holidays, the minister said. In addition, employees with children will receive a bonus of up to 200 euros per child, and 350 euros will be allocated for each child to single-parent families.

“The whole country wants to avoid strikes during the Olympic Games,” Guerini said in an interview with France Info media on Saturday. “The Games have to be a success for the whole nation.”

Binet said the union will give a notice of strike in public services during the Games, which are held in July-August. The Paralympics take place in August-September.

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