Tuesday 6 December 2016

Dozens hurt in French labour riots

Brian Love in Paris

Published 29/04/2016 | 02:30

A protestor is arrested by riot police during a protest against the proposed changes to France's working week and layoff practices, in Lyon, central France
A protestor is arrested by riot police during a protest against the proposed changes to France's working week and layoff practices, in Lyon, central France

MoRe than a hundred demonstrators were detained and 24 security officers injured as clashes broke out during protests across France against planned labour law reforms yesterday, the interior minister said.

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Striking workers burned tyres and tens of thousands of protesters marched through the streets in Paris, Rennes, Nantes, Marseille and other cities.

Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said three officers had been badly hurt in clashes in the capital, and one was in a critical condition.

France’s powerful CGT union says the legislation, due to be debated in parliament next week, will let employers bypass regulations on basic worker rights by giving bosses greater freedom to set terms of pay, rest and overtime rates.

“We want it withdrawn as long as the goal means the law is no longer the rule, and that every company can opt out on work time or overtime rates. That’s unacceptable,” CGT chief Philippe Martinez said.

Trade unions say the proposed legislation is not the way to address an unemployment rate which President Francois Hollande promised to haul down but which has remained stubbornly above 10pc. Hollande faces a testing few months against a backdrop of protests and sluggish economic growth, before he announces whether he will contest next year’s election or not.

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