Topic: Macron Tries to Get France to Work
The sign on the window of Red Rhino, a popular barbecue restaurant in central Paris, has been up for a month: “Closed until further notice due to lack of personnel.” Bus and train service has been cut back in the tourist city of Lyon amid a dearth of drivers. In the Loire Valley, tons of vegetables went unharvested in the summer as thousands of picking jobs were left unfilled.
Economic activity has fitfully revved up again in France and across Europe since the end of COVID-19 lockdowns, only to be knocked back by the effects of Russia’s war in Ukraine. Even so, employers in numerous industries remain desperate to hire, with a range of businesses still not finding the workers needed to operate at capacity.
All of which has prompted France, Europe’s second-largest economy, to seek a variety of solutions — all of them politically combustible.
President Emmanuel Macron’s government is proposing a fast-track legalization for migrants in the country illegally who want to work in sectors facing staff shortages.
For added measure, the government is moving to tighten France’s famously generous unemployment system, with its lengthy benefits, in a bid to cycle jobless people more quickly back into the workforce.
The plans have met with resistance from different ends of the political spectrum. Lawmakers from France’s rising far right say a growing influx of migrants must be brought under tighter control and that French nationals should be given priority for jobs. The country’s powerful labor unions are warning that measures to cut jobless benefits risk pushing the unemployed toward poverty.
For thousands of businesses that form the backbone of the economy, the double-barreled approach has become necessary to help fix to what appears to be a permanent shift in workplace dynamics since the pandemic, as European workers in droves switch jobs or decide not to return to strenuous work that demands early or late hours on relatively low pay. Over half a million people in France resigned in the first three months of the year, the highest level in 15 years, France’s statistics agency reported.
“Our society after the pandemic has a different outlook,” said Thierry Marx, a Michelin-starred French chef who is the president of UMIH, France’s influential trade association of restaurants and hotels. “People are saying, I don’t want to have a sacrificial relationship to work.”
法國頗具影響力的餐廳與旅館同業公會「旅館餐飲職業產業聯盟」主席、法籍「米其林」星級主廚馬克斯說，「疫情之後我們社會出現一個不同的觀點，如今人們會說，我不想為工作犧牲奉獻」。Source article: https://udn.com/news/story/6904/6909797
Topic: Wanted in France: Thousands of Workers as Hotels and Restaurants Reopen
For six months, Christophe Thiriet has waited for France’s grinding national lockdowns to be lifted so he can reopen his company’s restaurants and hotels in a picturesque corner of eastern France and recall the 150 employees who were furloughed months ago.
But when he asked them to return for a reopening in mid-May, he faced an unexpected headache: At least 30 said they wouldn’t be coming back, leaving him scrambling to hire new workers just as he needed to swing into action.
“When you close things for so long, people think twice about whether they want to stay,” said Thiriet, a co-manager of the Heintz Group.
Restaurants and hotels across the country are facing the same problem. After months on furlough, workers in droves are deciding not to return to jobs in the hospitality industry.
A shortfall of perhaps as many as 100,000 restaurant and hotel workers is especially troubling, because hundreds of thousands of people are looking for work after France’s worst recession in decades. Employers say it is becoming harder to lure job seekers to an industry whose future is more or less tethered to the vagaries of the coronavirus and the uncertainty of vaccine campaigns.
The missing manpower conundrum has emerged as thousands of hotels and restaurants that survived the crisis pivot toward trying to make up for an 80% plunge in business since last spring. The COVID-19 lockdowns have cost France’s tourism industry, a cornerstone of the economy, more than 60 billion euros in lost revenue since last year.
“We know we’re going to have customers again this summer — that’s not the problem,” said Yann France, the owner of La Flambée, a restaurant in the popular northern seaside city of Deauville. “The concern is that we won’t have an adequate workforce at a time when we need to make up for a huge loss in sales.”
Some say the problem may not be so stark, since international visitors aren’t yet flocking back to France, and job seekers, including students who need work to help make ends meet, could eventually fill any shortfall.
But others say the precariousness of the businesses is the broader question.
“The bigger issue is the uncertainty over the industry’s future,” said Thierry Gregoire, the owner of NT Hotel Gallery group, which owns five hotels and three restaurants around Toulouse. “Will things stay open, or could there be another shutdown because of a new virus?”
「更大的問題是這個產業未來的不確定性。」在土魯斯擁有五間飯店和三間餐廳的NT Hotel Gallery集團老闆泰希．葛黑卦說，「開放狀態能否就此維持，或是又有隨新病毒而來的另一次封城？」Source article: https://udn.com/news/story/6904/5460885
Topic: France bans plastic packaging for fruit and veg
A law banning plastic packaging for large numbers of fruits and vegetables has come into force in France as of New Year’s Day, to end what the government has called the “aberration” of overwrapped carrots, apples and bananas, as environmental campaigners and exasperated shoppers urged other countries to do the same.
Emmanuel Macron has called the ban on plastic packaging of fresh produce “a real revolution” and said France was taking the lead globally with its law to gradually phase out all single-use plastics by 2040.
Spain will introduce a ban on plastic packaging of fruit and vegetables from 2023. For years, international campaigners have said unnecessary plastic packaging is causing environmental damage and pollution at sea.
From New Year’s Day, France bans supermarkets and other shops from selling cucumbers wrapped in plastic, and peppers, courgettes, aubergines and leeks in plastic packaging. A total of 30 types of fruit and vegetables are banned from having any plastic wrapping, including bananas, pears, lemons, oranges and kiwis.
Packs over 1.5kg are exempt, as well as chopped or processed fruit. Some varieties, including cherry tomatoes or soft fruits such as raspberries and blueberries, are given longer for producers to find alternatives to plastic, but plastic packaging will be gradually phased out for all whole fruits and vegetables by 2026.
With an estimated 37 percent of fruit and vegetables sold wrapped in plastic packaging in France in 2021, the government believes the ban will cut more than 1bn items of single-use plastic packaging a year. The environment ministry said there must be curbs on the “outrageous amount of single-use plastic in our daily lives.”
Fruit and vegetables wrapped in layers of plastic have exasperated consumers not only in France but neighboring countries. Nearly three-quarters of British people have experienced “anxiety, frustration or hopelessness” at the amount of plastic that comes with their shopping and 59 percent think supermarkets and brands are not doing enough to offer refillable, reusable or packaging-free products, according to a poll commissioned by Friends of the Earth and City to Sea in June last year.
將水果及蔬菜以塑膠層層包裹，惹惱的不只是法國人，還有鄰近國家的消費者。去年六月由環保組織「地球之友」與「城市至海」所委託進行的一項民意調查發現，近四分之三的英國人對購物時用到的塑膠數量感到「焦慮、無力或絕望」，百分之五十九的人認為超市及品牌在提供可填充、可重複使用或無包裝產品方面做得不夠。Source Article: https://www.taipeitimes.com/News/lang/archives/2022/01/11/2003771107