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French rail workers threaten continued action over labor reforms

8 June 2016 23:44

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Rail workers in France have walked out of their jobs, threatening to continue their industrial action over the controversial government-proposed labor reforms throughout the Euro 2016 soccer tournament.

The workers at the rail sector went on strike and held a protest on Wednesday, warning that they will persist with the movement.

Members of the CGT and FO unions as well as the smaller Sud Rail were among those taking part in the work stoppage.

“Unfortunately yes we will continue the movement even if it becomes a bother during the Euro” football championship, said Philippe Nunes, FO labor union member.

Over the past few months, France has been witnessing violent demonstrations and strikes over contentious labor reforms put forward by the country’s Socialist government.

This is while the Euro 2016 soccer tournament, a sporting event which is predicted to draw 2.5 million spectators, is due to open in France on June 10.

In another development on Wednesday, French trash collectors and waste treatment workers went on strike.


Rubbish bins are pictured in a street in Paris, France, June 8, 2016. © AFP

French media broadcast pictures of piles of garbage on streets in parts of the capital, Paris, and other French cities and trash bag barricades set up in front of waste facilities.

The CGT said police removed blockades at some of the major incineration and rubbish collection depots, but it was not so much effective.

Regis Vicelli, CGT general secretary, held the French government responsible for the ramifications of the industrial action.


Masked men clash with French police during a demonstration against the government-proposed labor reforms in Nantes, France, June 2, 2016. © AFP 

Controversial labor bill

Paris says the proposed labor reforms focus on maximum working hours, holidays and breaks, and are aimed at curbing the unemployment rate.

Protesters and trade unions, however, say the government wants to make it easier and less costly for employers to lay off workers.

The draft labor bill was recently forced through the lower house of parliament, but it must be debated in the Senate for final approval.

The French government has refused to scrap the bill, with Prime Minister Manuel Valls saying he will not bow to protests.

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