Thu, Sep 24, 2015 - Page 10 News List

Paris “wee-wee ladies” rise up in protest

A file picture taken on Sept. 4 in Paris shows the Eiffel tower.

Photo: AFP

For a month now, 11 public toilet attendants in Paris have staged daily protests in the tourist haven of Montmartre after they were laid off by managers who want to transform their workplaces into trendy “boutique restrooms.”

“They want to create luxury stores and say we don’t have the profile they’re looking for, they want us to speak several languages,” says Mahliya Fiokouna, one of the protesting “dames pipi,” or “wee-wee ladies” as they are known in France.

For seven years, Fiokouna has been cleaning toilets in popular tourist sites in the French capital such as the Sacre-Coeur basilica perched on a hill in Montmartre, the Notre-Dame cathedral and the Place de l’Etoile at the top of the upmarket Champs-Elysees avenue. At 45, she is the youngest of the protesters, a majority of whom are around 60 and have been working as toilet attendants for decades, but they were all laid off in July when Dutch company 2theloo took on a handful of toilets that had until then been managed by a French firm.







1. tourist haven n.

旅遊勝地 (lu3 you2 sheng4 di4)

例: Alishan and Sun Moon Lake are two of Taiwan’s best-known tourist havens.


2. lay off v. phr.

解僱 (jie3 gu4)

例: The recent economic crisis has led to many staff being laid off.


3. capital n.

首都 (shou3 du1)

例: Manila is the capital of the Philippines.


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