French public sector workers strike against Macron's reforms

Young journalists club

News ID: 23248
Publish Date: 17:54 - 22 May 2018
TEHRAN, May 22 - French public sector employees joined rail workers in striking Tuesday to protest overhauls proposed by President Emmanuel Macron, calling them an "attack" by the centrist leader against civil services as well as their economic security.

French public sector workers strike against Macron's reformsTEHRAN, Young Journalists Club (YJC) - It is the third day of major stoppages and demonstrations by public-sector employees since voters last year elected Macron, who has pledged to reduce public spending, trim jobs and reform large parts of the vast French state.

All unions representing civil servants have backed Tuesday's strike, a show of unity which was last seen around 10 years ago.

Their walkout affected schools and daycare centers, flights and some energy infrastructure, while public transport was also disrupted as some workers took part ahead of the next round of two-day strikes at national rail operator SNCF starting late Tuesday.

"Thanks to the civil service, all of the unions in this country will be together," said labor leader Bernadette Groison from the FSU union. "That shows how high the stakes are."

The centrist government plans public sector reforms next year which would lead to the greater use of contract workers for some state services and a cut of 120,000 jobs by 2022 out of 5.6 million.

It has already maintained a pay freeze while Olivier Dussopt, the minister in charge of France's public service, is preparing cost-cutting measures he has said will be "more or less disruptive".

Many civil servants also fear that the government plans to scrap their special status and job-for-life privileges, a measure that has already been announced for new recruits on the state railways, the SNCF.

Striking police officers also snarled traffic on the ring road surrounding Paris to defend their status and retirement benefits.

But surveys suggest the movement is struggling to garner widespread support, with 49 percent saying they did not back the striking public workers in a ViaVoice poll published by French daily Le Figaro.

Just 40 percent said they supported the movement.

Source: AFP

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