This video from Paris, France says about itself:
3 May 2016
French labor unions and students gather in protest against a contested labor bill as it is sent to parliament for debating.
Hundreds of gas stations in France were hit by fuel shortages over the weekend as truckers and oil workers blocked fuel depots and shut down refineries to protest the Socialist Party’s (PS) unpopular and regressive labour law: here.
Thursday 12th May 2016
posted by Morning Star in World
Rightwingers court real socialists amid pan-national protests
FRENCH Prime Minister Manuel Valls shrugged off the possibility yesterday of losing today’s no-confidence vote in the National Assembly following mass protests against his government.
Demonstrations erupted across the country on Tuesday after Mr Valls employed decree powers to impose legislation that waters down workers’ rights and weakens trade unions.
The no-confidence motion is proposed by right-wing opposition parties — the Republicans headed by Nicolas Sarkozy and the Union of Democrats and Independents (UDI) led by Jean-Christophe Lagarde.
Between them they have 226 votes of the 288 required to defeat the government.
The right-wing parties have asked the left-wing opposition to back their motion, a proposal that Parliamentary Elections Minister Jean-Marie Le Guen called “inconceivable.”
This was the second time that the Socialist Party government has resorted to article 49.3 of the constitution to impose legislation.
Crowds of protesters gathered outside the National Assembly in the French capital once again to voice their protest against the controversial Bill.
Recourse to decree was “an insult to the people of this country” while the Bill itself was an “unprecedented setback for workers’ rights in France — a return to the 19th century,” said demonstration organisers Nuit Debout (Rise Up At Night).
The new labour law, proposed by Labour Minister Myriam El Khomri, states that employers can reduce supplementary overtime rates from the current 25 per cent to 10 per cent.
It technically maintains the 35-hour working week but allows, in cases of “exceptional circumstances,” for employees to be expected to work up to 60 hours a week.
A coalition of trade unions and student bodies issued a call to “workers, young people and students” to take part in days of strikes and demonstrations next week on May 17 and 19 to continue active opposition to the labour law.
Force Ouvriere trade union leader Jean-Claude Mailly told l’Humanite newspaper that, far from stifling the opposition, recourse to article 49.3 would “throw oil on the flames.”
He noted that, in opposition, President Francois Hollande had systematically referred to 49.3 as “brutality,” a “denial of democracy” and “a means of delaying or preventing parliamentary debates.”
Thursday, 12 May 2016
France on the brink as government imposes anti-union laws!
THE French Socialist government’s cabinet has opted for a dictatorship over the working class by agreeing to force through its anti-trade union legislation, invoking a little-used Article (49.3) in the constitution to enable Prime Minister Manuel Valls to by-pass parliament.
This dictatorial decision was taken after a number of MPs from the ruling Socialist Party said they would vote against their party’s bill and refused to reach a compromise on it with their Hollande government.
PM Valls said: ‘I’m doing it, they’re doing it, because we are convinced this project is acting in favour of long-term employment. It will give people access to the workplace, people who’ve been excluded. Significantly, our small businesses will be able to hire staff. This law will give flexibility and bring reactivity to our businesses.’
In fact the decree allows employers to stamp on workers’ rights and cut pay and work breaks while adding extra hours of work. The changes to the labour laws make it easier for employers to hire and fire and opponents warned that employers will smash workers’ rights on pay and overtime.
President Francois Hollande has already faced months of resistance to the bill from students, unions and even members of his own Socialist Party. His government is now based exclusively on the state and its massive paramilitary specially trained forces of the CRS and other counter-revolutionary state forces.
The Bill accepts the 35-hour week only as an average. Employers can now impose a 46-hour week if they wish. Companies now have the right to impose wage cuts on their staff, and also impose mass lay-offs. The cynical Socialists say that companies will take on more workers if they know that they can get rid of them easily when they want to.
Employers can dictate when there are to be holidays and special leave, such as maternity or for getting married. These have previously been heavily regulated. The only parliamentary way to try to halt the bill would be to pass a specific vote of censure – in parliament within 24 hours. This is being attempted today, but will not win a majority since this act of defending democracy would bring down the government and deepen the political crisis.
The battle will now be fought out in the streets in a struggle that will match the intensity and importance of the great May and June 1968 battles between workers supported by students and the hated CRS and other state forces that were marshalled by General de Gaulle who came to power by overthrowing the Fourth Republic.
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Friday 13th May 2016
posted by Morning Star in World
RIOT police fired tear gas yesterday to disperse rain-drenched protesters who were marching through Paris in opposition to anti-worker legislation.
Police reacted similarly to minor incidents in major mobilisations in Marseille and Nantes.
President Francois Hollande’s Socialist Party government has alienated much of its electoral base by using emergency decree powers to impose legislation diluting workers’ employment rights and undermining trade unions.
The right-wing parliamentary opposition opened a no-confidence debate in Prime Minister Manuel Valls last night, accusing the government of not going far enough in its anti-worker programme.
Conservative lower house leader Christian Jacob criticised the Bill as being inadequate to open up the economy, while insisting that the government’s use of special measures to pass it without a vote was “appalling.”
Mr Jacob said that, “if the no-confidence vote fails, it will only remain for the French people to count the days, to feverishly count the days until the political change,” in reference to next year’s presidential election.
Labour Minister Myriam El Khomri acknowledged that the government had made “mistakes” in how it handled the Bill.
But she insisted that it will help France compete “in today’s world.”
Former Left Front presidential candidate Jean-Luc Melenchon called the protests “a reaction against an obscene system of abuse of power by the oligarchy.”
The Bill was a gift to corporate chief executives and would worsen inequality, he added.
“This pillaging of the country by a caste that fattened itself on the back of workers has lasted long enough,” he said.
Wednesday 18th May 2016
posted by Morning Star in World
by Our Foreign Desk
LORRY drivers blocked major roads across France yesterday while angry workers and students marched through city streets to protest at longer working hours and reduced overtime payments ordered by President Francois Hollande’s government.
The president insists that he won’t abandon the austerity cuts that, along with anti-union measures, have sparked mass discontent.
The country is facing a tense week of rolling strikes and other union action against the legislation, which has met fierce resistance in parliament and in the streets.
The drivers, fearful of losing a massive €1,000-1,500 from their annual income because of lower overtime payments, blocked roads around Marseille and the western cities of Nantes and Le Mans yesterday.
Marseille union leader Laurent Casanova said the goal was “to paralyse traffic … and block the economy.”
Mr Hollande declared: “I will not back down,” arguing that the new law is necessary to boost employment and investment.
“There are too many governments that have backed down, which is why I found the country in such a state in 2012,” he claimed.
A crowd of protesters followed him to a pharmaceutical laboratory he was visiting, demanding that the new legislation be abandoned.
There were large and peaceful protests in Lyon and Nantes organised by trade unions and left-wing parties, including the Communist Party.
Wednesday, 18 May 2016
France heads for shutdown
FRENCH lorry drivers blocked motorways yesterday as a strike wave gripped France bringing sections of the country to a virtual standstill.
The entire country is rising up against President François Hollande’s new labour laws, and French workers have planned a second strike tomorrow. Transport, including ports, trains and airports were shut down.
Truckers had managed to block strategic points in the north and south, notably Bordeaux, stopping deliveries to a supermarket hub and fuel depots and causing complete gridlock of the roads.
Despite the rising tide against the laws, Hollande has stubbornly insisted that he will enforce them regardless. After two months of protests, in which workers and youth have battled the CRS riot police resulting in 1,000 arrests, yesterday’s fresh action brought the greatest number of workers out on strike to date.
Seven unions, the CGT, FO, FSU, Solidaires, l’Unef, l’UNL and Fidl took part. The head of the French train drivers CGT union, Philippe Martinez, warned that workers are ‘engaging in a tough movement’.
CGT railworkers confirmed they plan to stage rolling strikes every Wednesday and Thursday from this week, right up until the Euro 2016 championships in June and July. The hated labour laws make it easier to hire and fire workers. The bill accepts the 35-hour week only as an average. Employers can now impose a 46-hour week if they wish.
Hollande’s government last week forced through the bill by using the so-called ‘nuclear’ option of bypassing a parliamentary vote. Ahead of yesterday’s strikes Hollande said: ‘I will not give in because too many previous governments have backed down.’
The law, he added, ‘is going to go through because it has been debated, agreed on and amended.’ Tomorrow will be the big day for airport strikes, with action by air traffic controllers, engineers, technicians and administrative staff which will affect air traffic and airports nationally.
Protests continue in France over labour law reforms
Transport workers and truck drivers held strikes and protests this week against the labour law reforms imposed last week by the Hollande government that will make it easier to fire workers. Orly and Charles de Gaulle airports in Paris were disrupted when engineers, technicians and traffic control staff went on strike.
Two rail unions, CGT and Sud Rail held strikes beginning Wednesday morning through to Friday. The action is also part of an ongoing dispute with the rail company SNCF over contract negotiations. Regional, inter-city and high-speed services were affected.
Port and dockworkers held 24-hour strikes Tuesday and Thursday disrupting ferry services.
Local train services around Paris were impacted by strike action as were bus services in Antibes, Nice and Grasse.
Protest marches were held in Paris on Tuesday and Thursday against the changes in labour law. Teachers and other school staff in some schools also took action leading to schools being closed.
Truck drivers blockaded food and fuel supply depots and rode slow moving convoys to slow or jam traffic on major highways.
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