Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

EYE ON AFRICA

Global Competitiveness report releases 2018 Africa performance

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Brexit: 'The end isn't nigh'

Read more

THE DEBATE

Where do you draw the line? Brexit deadline summit stumbles over Irish border

Read more

ACCESS ASIA

Uighurs and Kazakhs held in re-education camps in China

Read more

MIDDLE EAST MATTERS

Salim Saab: Showcasing the women of the Arab art world

Read more

FOCUS

Irish border remains stumbling block in Brexit talks

Read more

ENCORE!

Film show: Capernaum - powerful social drama or poverty porn?

Read more

IN THE PRESS

Nature under threat: Arresting pictures from Wildlife Photography Awards

Read more

PERSPECTIVE

Protecting heritage land against mining companies

Read more

France

Thousands protest in France against Macron’s social reforms

© Stéphane de Sakutin, AFP (archives) | Demonstrations in Paris on 28 June, 2018.

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2018-10-10

Around 160,000 people joined demonstrations across France on Tuesday, the interior ministry said, heeding union calls for President Emmanuel Macron to "maintain the social model", which has come under threat from his ambitious reforms.

Around 20,000 people turned out in Paris, the largest of some 100 rallies across the country.

The head of the hard-left Confederation of Labour (CGT) union Philippe Martinez estimated turnout higher at 300,000 nationwide. The CGT said about 50,000 people marched in Paris at the urging of six of the country’s labour unions.

"We’re not complaining, we’re revolting!" the students, workers and retirees chanted as they marched in the first demonstration since the end of the summer holiday, referring to President Macron’s recent suggestion that the French complain too much.

The ministry said 16 arrests were made, nine in Paris, where one marcher and a policeman were reported hurt after up to 300 hooded anarchists latched onto the rally, throwing projectiles at police, who responded with teargas.

Marchers mainly young people carried banners saying they had had enough of “austerity, unemployment”. Many of them said that Macron’s proposed welfare reforms will “disadvantage the weakest in society”. The elderly turned out to voice their disapproval of pension reforms.

“I’ve lost 50 euros a month I can’t make ends meet any more,” complained François Manugal, a retired 65-year-old from the southeastern city of Lyon.

>> Read more: Today's French strikes 'lack vital ingredients' of '68 and '95

Martinez criticised Macron’s attempts to reform the economy, in particular issues regarding wages, accusing the government of erroneously believing that “reducing social contributions would be good for purchasing power”.

Pascal Pavageau, the leader of the Force Ouvrière (Workers' Force) union, urged the government to engage in dialogue "and above all, maintain the social model” as Macron battles sagging popularity on the back of sweeping reforms – notably of the labour code, designed to bring greater flexibility to the jobs market.

Unions are planning further mobilisations in the coming months on specific reforms such as changes to pensions and the unemployment insurance system, but no specific dates have been set.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP)

Date created : 2018-10-09

  • FRANCE

    Rail unions at a crossroads in France as rolling strikes conclude

    Read more

  • FRANCE

    France set for new week of strike headaches as labour unrest continues

    Read more

  • FRANCE

    Strikes continue as Air France, rail workers and students fight against reforms

    Read more

COMMENT(S)