President Macron faces first wave of wrath over labour market reforms

ETIENNE LAURENT

A protester kick back a gas canister at the police during a demonstration against police violence in Paris, France, 15 February 2017.

President Macron faces first wave of wrath over labour market reforms


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Riot police clashed with protestors marching against labour market reforms in Paris on Tuesday, a movement that President Emmanuel Macron has dismissed as “slackers.”

“I am fully determined and I won’t cede any ground, not to slackers, nor cynics, nor hardliners,” Macron said from Athens earlier this week.

Anti-riot forces used waters cannons, tear gas, and mass detentions in Paris, while scuffles were also reported in Lyon.

Police estimate there were 24,000 protestors in the streets of Paris on Tuesday, while the CGT union claims there were 60,000. They were joined by Jean-Luc Mélenchon of the “Unbowed” party.

Besides Paris, protestors marched in Lyon, Saint Nazaire, Toulouse, Marseille, Nice, Perpignan, Bordeaux, Le Havre, and Caen. Participants included rail workers, air traffic control, and public services.

One of the key slogans was “Macron you’re screwed, the slackers are in the street.,” rfi news agency reports.

The French President has promised to lower unemployment from 9,5% today to 7% by 2022. He believes labour market reforms to be at the heart of this effort. However, the short term political question is whether reactions to President Emmanuel Macron will escalate or subside. The next national strike action will take place on September 21.

Left wing unions are opposing a string of measures designed to undermine collective bargaining and facilitate dismissals, moving towards an “easy-hire, easy-fire” labour market model. Among the measures introduced by the government is a cap on compensation for dismissal,

However, the CFDT and Force Ouvriere (FO) unions are not taking part in strike action or the demonstrations.

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