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French public sector strike disrupt schools, hospitals

October 10, 2017 - 5:21 AM

PARIS - A nationwide strike by French public sector workers on Tuesday was affecting schools, hospitals and public services and causing disruptions in domestic air traffic.

Nine public sector unions called for nationwide industrial action to protest against President Emmanuel Macron's economic policies, which they say would result in deteriorating work conditions.

The unions are angry at plans to tighten rules for sick leave, freeze salaries and decrease the number of public sector employees in the next five years.

Flagship carrier Air France says about 25 per cent of domestic flights would be cancelled due to a walkout by some traffic controllers. The airline expects to run all long-haul flights to and from Paris airports.

The education ministry said in a statement about 17 per cent of teachers across the country was on strike Tuesday. Some school canteens and nurseries were closed, and several high schools in Paris were closed because students were blocking the entrances in solidarity with the union action.

"They unravel all the social protections supposed to protect the weakest and the workers," said Sandrine Amoud, a teacher on strike in Paris to protest against Macron's policies.

Railway traffic was expected to be close to normal.

Jean-Claude Mailly, secretary general of the hard-left FO union, called on Macron to stop "austerity" policies toward public servants during a protest in the city of Lyon.

Tuesday's industrial action comes after several other street protests in recent weeks against Macron's proposed changes to labour laws, which apply to employees of the private sector. Unions fear Macron's economic policies would weaken France's hard-won workers protections.

The hard-left CGT union called for new protests and strikes against Macron's labour reforms on Oct. 19.

News from © The Associated Press, 2017
The Associated Press

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