15 thoughts on “Austerity and militarism in France

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  14. Friday 1st April 2016

    posted by Morning Star in World

    Students join striking workers on the streets

    by Our Foreign Desk

    HUNDREDS of thousands of French workers and students joined a general strike yesterday against their government’s attacks on hard-won workers’ rights.

    Clashes broke out between demonstrators and riot police in Paris and the western cities of Nantes and Rennes during the latest protests against government plans to to raise the weekly limit on working hours from 35 to 48 hours.

    The legislation, to be debated next month, would allow 12-hour days and in “exceptional circumstances” employees could work up to 60 hours a week.

    Annual leave entitlement, break-time pay and other workplace rights will also be up for debate.

    Both employers and the Socialist Party government of President Francois Hollande — the least popular in modern French history — claim the hated Bill will encourage firms to take on more staff — with unemployment running at 10 per cent.

    But trade unions and other progressives have called it a threat to job security.

    Trade unions said up to 100,000 young people took part in the strike. The Education Ministry said 90 of the country’s 2,500 schools were shut down by student protests.

    “This bill is supposed to help hiring but all I see is that it helps dismissal,” Bouchra Jellab of student group Unef told Reuters.

    The Interior Ministry tried to downplay turnout at around 200 separate marches and rallies across the country, putting the figure at 224,000.

    But unions said the protests were just “a warm-up” before further planned rallies.

    Strikes disrupted hospitals, broadcasters, rail services and even shut the Eiffel Tower for the day.

    Drivers were stuck in 250 miles of traffic jams on motorways around Paris.

    A separate action by air traffic controllers saw 20 per cent of flights at Paris Orly airport canceled.

    State railway company SNCF warned of disruptions to national and regional train traffic.

    The company which operates the Eiffel Tower said in a statement there were not enough staff to open the monument with “sufficient security and reception conditions.”


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