Eastern Europeans hired for Paris climate meet

Reportedly low paid eastern Europeans have been called in to work on the COP 21 climate summit in Paris, even though local workers were told they would be prioritized in the hiring procedure.

Eastern Europeans hired for Paris climate meet
Workers go about their jobs on in Le Bourget, outside Paris, at the construction site of the building which will host the Climate Change Conference 2015. Photo: AFP
The Paris COP 21 climate summit, which runs from November 30th to December 11th, seemed like a golden opportunity for work in the département of Seine-Saint-Denis, just outside of Paris.
Indeed, there are around 3,000 people hired to be working on the meet, and the organizers noted that “people living in the region will get priority treatment when it comes to any employment generated by the event”.
But revelations emerged on Thursday that at least 200 workers had been subcontracted from eastern Europe to help out.
While there is nothing illegal about hiring workers from around Europe instead of those in France, they must be paid at least at the minimum wage, which wasn't the case at the COP 21.
A Slovakian worker said for a 12-hour shift he had only been paid €70 ($76), reported the France TV Info channel.
The man had been hired by GL Events, which came under fire in the past for hiring a dozen Romanians to work a university in La Rochelle.
A spokesperson from the company confirmed that six workers were indeed from Slovenia, but added that the GL Events had hired local workers too. 
Guests at the summit — the biggest international meet in France since the Universal Declaration of Human rights was drawn up in 1948 — will include US President Barack Obama and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping among more than 80 world leaders. 

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School buses cancelled as southwest France braces for more rain

School bus services have been cancelled a storms hit one département in southwest France - with conditions set to remain difficult throughout the day.

Storms are hitting south west France
Storms are hitting south west France. Image: Shutterstock

Firefighters in the Carcassonne département of Aude – which was formally placed on orange weather alert by forecasters at Météo-France on Tuesday afternoon – have so far reported no significant damage after a night of heavy rainfall. 

But emergency services remain on alert with the autumnal storm system set to deposit more rain over the area on Wednesday before it moves away to the east.

So far, more than 144mm of rain has fallen in the area between Durban and Corbières and 133 mm in Coustouge.

To the east of the Corbières’ region, Météo France has recorded between 130 and 150mm of precipitation, and between 70mm to 100mm at stations in Leucate, Sigean and Carcassonne in just three hours early on Wednesday.

According to France’s floods watchdog Vigicrues, several towns in the east and south of the département – Feuilla, Fraissé-des-Corbières, Saint-Jean-de-Barrou, Sigean, Port-la Nouvelle, Peyriac-de- Mer, Narbonne and Gruissan – are bearing the brunt of the rainfall. 

It currently has seven yellow flood alerts in the Aude, indicating a ‘Risk of flooding generating overflows and localised damage, or a rapid and dangerous rise in water levels, requiring particular vigilance, particularly in the case of exposed and / or seasonal activities.’

The weather conditions have prompted the Aude préfecture to cancel school bus services on Wednesday around Bassin Versant de la Berre, Bassin Versant de l’Orbieu, and Bassin Versant du Verdouble, and urge residents to exercise caution as they go about their daily activities.

The system has generated significant snowfall at higher altitudes in the Pyrénées-Orientales, Haute-Ariège and Andorra. Up to 1m of snow is forecast in areas exposed to the easterly wind.

The rains are expected to intensify between Narbonne and the east of the Montagne Noire on Wednesday, with storms developing as the day progresses. An additional 120mm of precipitation could fall in localised areas during the day before the system moves east towards the Hérault then towards the lower valley of the Rhône and the Paca region on Thursday.

Light to moderate rains will persist in Aude overnight into Thursday.