A demonstrator holds a sign against “ordinances” during a protest called by several French unions against the labor law reform in Paris, September 12, 2017. (AFP photo)
Another wave of labor protests has begun to engulf France
in the first such public display of discontent with President Emmanuel Macron
’s policies since he came into office in May.
The protests on Tuesday are against labor decrees unveiled last month by Macron’s government.
The CGT, a prominent laborer union, said some 180 demonstrations had been planned in various cities. The representative of the union in the prestigious Eiffel Tower said workers were planning to walk out Tuesday afternoon. It was not clear whether the strike could affect tourist visits to the monument.
Funfair workers had already staged protests around Paris with dozens of big rigs driving at snail’s pace around the Arc de Triomphe to hamper traffic in the area.
A circus artist plays saxophone during a demonstration of funfair workers joining a protest called by several French unions against the labor law reform in Paris, September 12, 2017. (AFP photo)
Police said it was deploying extra forces into the streets of Paris in anticipation of a major march. Similar protests last year led to weeks of violence in the suburbs of Paris and other areas.
Demonstrations were also held earlier on Tuesday in other cities, including in the Mediterranean city of Marseille and in Le Havre on the English Channel.
The protests are mainly aimed at convincing Macron to abandon his latest labor decrees, which the unions and workers say are biased against them and largely benefit employers. Macron has capitalized on the policy as a cornerstone of his promises for deep economic changes in France. The decrees, which reduce the power of unions and give companies more authority to fire workers and influence workplace rules, are expected to be finalized this month.
Many have criticized Macron for ignoring the hard-fought worker protections that already existed in the French labor law. Critics also accuse Macron’s government of using undemocratic methods to push the labor decrees through the parliament.