The removal and disposal of waste are central operations for the reproduction of society and the territorial governance. However, the work of garbage collectors remains rarely studied. Over the last thirty years in Europe multinational companies have begun to invest in this sector. At the same time, privatizations are accompanied by the introduction of public service modernization reforms inspired by the doctrines of the New Public Management (NPM). In this article, based on research done in Paris between 2013 and 2014, the author argues that a management increasingly focused on valorization principles, has dispossessed workers of a practical knowledge built over the years and established a formal approach to security deteriorating working conditions and increasing physical and psychological pathologies.
Keywords: Garbage collectors, privatizations, France, security and health at work, NPM