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Issue #1731      May 18, 2016

France

Protests against anti-worker bills

Riot police fired tear gas last week to disperse rain-drenched protesters who were marching through Paris in opposition to anti-worker legislation.Police reacted similarly to minor incidents in major mobilisations in Marseille and Nantes.

President Francois Hollande’s Socialist Party government has alienated much of its electoral base by using emergency decree powers to impose legislation diluting workers’ employment rights and undermining trade unions.

The right-wing parliamentary opposition opened a no-confidence debate in Prime Minister Manuel Valls last night, accusing the government of not going far enough in its anti-worker program.

Conservative lower house leader Christian Jacob criticised the Bill as being inadequate to open up the economy, while insisting that the government’s use of special measures to pass it without a vote was “appalling.”

Mr Jacob said that, “if the no-confidence vote fails, it will only remain for the French people to count the days, to feverishly count the days until the political change,” in reference to next year’s presidential election.

Labour Minister Myriam El Khomri acknowledged that the government had made “mistakes” in how it handled the Bill.

But she insisted that it will help France compete “in today’s world.”Former Left Front presidential candidate Jean-Luc Melenchon called the protests “a reaction against an obscene system of abuse of power by the oligarchy.”The Bill was a gift to corporate chief executives and would worsen inequality, he added. “This pillaging of the country by a caste that fattened itself on the backs of workers has lasted long enough,” he said.

Morning Star

Next article – Role whitewashing

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