Europe France facing chaotic week of strikes, protests

France facing chaotic week of strikes, protests

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Public sector, rail, energy workers, and air traffic controllers all planning several industrial actions starting Tuesday

France on Tuesday is again being hit by a nationwide strike affecting several vital sectors to protest government labor reforms and planned job cuts.

The walkout of nearly 5.7 million public servants will affect transportation, schools, public kindergartens, health care, flights, and some energy infrastructure. It is the third stoppage since President Emmanuel Macron’s election in May 2017 and the first to have a consensus from all public sector unions since 2010.

A total of nine trade unions, including the country’s largest labor union, the CGT, called for the strike, and more than 130 rallies are planned in cities and towns nationwide in protest of proposed government reforms announced in February.

The largest march is due to set off from Paris’s Place de la Republique at 2 pm (1200GMT) and head southeast for Place de la Nation.

Millions of national and international commuters are facing major transport disruptions amid a 36-day rolling strike by state railway operator SNCF — which started on April 3 — and an air traffic controllers’ strike.

France’s civil aviation authority on Tuesday recommended airlines cancel 20 percent of their flights at Paris’s Orly airport as well as airports in Lyon and Marseille.

Despite the continuing industrial unrest, Macron has repeatedly insisted that he was elected on a mandate for change and is determined to see his reforms through.