The river Seine in Paris is a hostage of environmental blackmail. Workers at a struggling French transportation company threaten to pour 8,000 liters of toxic fuel additive into the Parisian river if they do not get the severance pay that they demand, The Guardian reported Thursday.
About 50 disgruntled truck and transport drivers at the distribution site La Vaupalière near Rouen are ready to pour the toxic substance into their on-site sewer system, which channels rainwater back to the Seine, if they do not get their demanded severance packages of 15,000 euros from Serta. The company has cut about 80 jobs this year to alleviate the effects of the financial crisis.
“It’s the only means of getting what we want,” said to Jean-Pierre Villemin from the French Democratic Confederation of Labor (CFDT) union.
The move threatens to cause enormous environmental damage to the river’s fish population just days after France’s National Federation for Fishing announced that the Atlantic salmon that had abandoned the river in the last century has finally returned to their fresh water birthplace.
But according to Villemin, the effect on the ecosystem will be “less dramatic…than people being made redundant and sacrificed.”
The campaign follows a series of recent threats of environmental damage in France, after last month workers at two other struggling companies vowed to explode gas cylinders at their factories. Although both threats were lifted, many in France still remember the strike at the Cellatex textile plant nine years ago, when workers flooded the river Meuse with sulfuric acid.
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, a Bulgaria native, is a Chicago-based reporter for Circle of Blue. She co-writes The Stream, a daily digest of international water news trends.
Interests: Europe, China, Environmental Policy, International Security.