Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

MEDIAWATCH

Inside Aleppo: 'Feels like prison'

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The Legacy of Shimon Peres, The Battle of Aleppo (Part 1)

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

Trump-Clinton Debate, Colombia Peace Deal, Death of the BlackBerry (Part 2)

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

Backstage at Paris Fashion Week

Read more

FASHION

Paris Fashion Week: Saint Laurent, Lanvin, present new designers

Read more

#THE 51%

Online and proud: Iranian women use social media in a campaign for equality

Read more

#TECH 24

Say hello to Pepper!

Read more

REPORTERS

Video: The final days of Colombia’s FARC guerilla

Read more

REVISITED

Video: Abkhazia, the country that (almost) doesn't exist

Read more

France

Angry French workers set to strike

Video by FRANCE 2 , Sarah DRURY

Text by FRANCE 24 (with wires)

Latest update : 2009-03-19

French public and private workers take to the streets on Thursday to protest government economic policies and rising job cuts. According to the latest French poll, more than 70 percent of the population supports Thursday's strikes.

Paris - Angry French workers take to the streets on Thursday, to protest government economic policies and surging job losses.

 

Labour unions called for strike action to protest ongoing restructuring and job cuts in the public and private sectors across the country.


All the main unions will participate in the stoppage on Thursday. The public transport workers’ strike is due to begin on Wednesday at  8 pm and last until Friday morning.


The turnout is expected to be higher than on Jan. 29, when at least two-and-a-half million people participated in union rallies, according to organizers, while police set the number at one million.
 

French President Nicolas Sarkozy offered a series of concessions in January but disgruntled union leaders called for a second round of public protests.


At least 74 percent of the population supports the movement, according to a French poll (link in French) published in the French financial daily Les Echos on Tuesday.
 
Public sector workers want an immediate halt to mass job cuts and a moratorium on suppression of posts listed in the 2009 budget.

 

Adding to the social tension, many French universities have been paralysed for weeks due to a strike by lecturers, professors and students against a government reform of higher education.
 

On Thursday, work of the postal, telecom and energy sectors will also be affected.


The social unrest also spread to the private sector after recent factory closures and rising fears of job losses.
 

German tyre manufacturer Continental announced the closure of a plant in northern France at a cost of 1,120 jobs, while Japan's Sony said it was shedding 311 jobs in the southwest.

 

Furious workers at Total have called for a 24-hour strike after the oil-giant announced the suppression of 555 posts in France despite a record profit of 13.9 billion euros in 2008.

 
 
More government effort
 
Worker unions want some of the fiscal packages and tax cuts offered by President Sarkozy revoked or reviewed. For example, tax and social security concessions on overtime work. Union leaders say employers find it more economical to make employees work overtime than to hire additional work force.


The French government has introduced a 26 billion euro ($34 billion) stimulus plan to help revive the economy. President Sarkozy offered up to 2.65 billion euros of additional aid in the wake of the protests in January, primarily to help vulnerable households.

 

French Prime Minister Francois Fillon said last Friday “the government would not agree to further concessions, whatever happens on Thursday.”

Date created : 2009-03-19

COMMENT(S)