Wednesday, June 7, 2023
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French unions in trouble after talks with government fail

Stephane Mahe and Pascal Rossignol

PARIS (Reuters) – Protesters marched across France on Thursday to protest The prime minister and unions have failed to break the political impasse after expressing opposition to President Emmanuel Macron and his wildly unpopular pension bill. Since January, hundreds of thousands of people have attended rallies organized by unions, which have sometimes turned violent.

Labor groups vowed to stay the course after talks with Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne on Wednesday, which lasted just an hour, failed to calm the situation.

“What the people in power do, the people can undo,” chanted protesters in the western French city of Rennes, holding up signs that read: “Fight for our pensions.” , and “Strike, blockade, Macron go away.”

Union leaders and protesters say the only way out of the crisis is to withdraw legislation, an option Bohn and Macron have repeatedly rejected .

“There is no solution other than to undo the reforms,” Sophie Binet, the new leader of the hardline CGT union, said at the start of the Paris rally.

Laurent Berger, head of the CFDT, the country’s largest trade union, called on “the largest number of workers, men and women, to join marches across France tomorrow.”

Thursday’s march – 11 the first national day of protest in the past three months – could indicate whether protracted rallies are losing momentum or gaining momentum momentum.

The previous day, according to the Ministry of the Interior, the demonstration in March 30 had attracted smaller crowds, 740, The number of protesters across the country compared to the record 1.20 million people on March 7th.


RATP, the Parisian public transport operator, predicts that traffic will be largely normal on Thursday. Trains were also less disrupted than the strikes against the reforms in previous days.

Civil aviation authorities ask airlines to reduce flights by 11% Bordeaux and Marseilles, but not like previous strikes since mid-January Held at Paris Airport.

Some 11% of elementary school teachers are also expected to join the strike, local media quoted the Snuipp-FSU union as saying, down from March 28 of30%.

Strikes are still disrupting operations at oil refineries and nuclear power plants, while garbage collectors have vowed to resume protests from next week.

The latest wave of demonstrations is the most serious challenge to the authority of President Emmanuel Macron is on a state visit to China since the “yellow vest” uprising four years ago.

Opinion polls show that a large majority of French people oppose the pension legislation and the government’s decision to push it through parliament without a parliamentary vote.

But a source close to Macron said it didn’t matter.

“If the role of the President of the Republic is based on public opinion, there is no need to hold elections,” the source said. “Being president is about making choices that may not be popular at a given time.”

Key date will be April20, the Constitutional Council made a ruling on the pension bill. Constitutional experts say it is unlikely to be overturned, which the government may hope will help weaken the protests.

“Mobilization will continue somehow…it’s a long run,” said CGT’s Binet.



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