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French unions to strike over Macron's 'destruction of social model'

Mehdi Fedouach / AFP | A man holds a banner reading 'Macron, assassin of the social system' during a demonstration to protest against government reforms, on March 22, 2018 in Bordeaux.

Unions in France on Thursday called for a strike for October 9 in protest at the "ideological policies" of French President Emmanuel Macron's government.

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The CGT and FO unions as well as two national student unions denounced "ideological policies targeting the destruction of our social model, favouring notably the explosion of inequality and the breaking of collective rights".

Macron, a 40-year-old former investment banker who swept to power last year promising to end decades of high unemployment and to reform the European Union, is trying to loosen French labour laws and reform the social security system.

The unions said in a joint statement that his policies would have an impact "once again on the weakest, the most insecure and most deprived".

Earlier this year rail workers staged rolling strikes against Macron's plan to overhaul France's heavily indebted state rail operator SNCF.

Planned reforms included denying job and pension guarantees to new hires, along with moves to turn the SNCF into a joint-stock company, which the union considered a first step toward privatisation.

Lawmakers approved the reforms in early June although two unions have pledged to strike again on September 18.

Opinion polls, however, showed most voters backed the proposed changes.

(AFP)

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