Teachers on strike today
Unions say return to Wednesday morning classes from September is being rushed through
UNIONS say six out of 10 primary school teachers across France are on strike today, as they protest against changes to the timetable due to come into force this September.
There are big regional variations - with up to 80% of teachers in Paris and the Alpes-Maritimes expect to walk out. Demonstrations are planned in most major towns and cities this morning over the return to a four-and-a-half-day week.
Teachers say the timetable reform - which cuts 45 minutes from each school day - has been rushed through without enough thought being given to staffing, cost and the impact on school transport, childcare requirements and extra-curricular activities.
Some towns have chosen to delay the implementation by a year. Teachers' union SNUipp has asked for the changes to be postponed until September 2014 nationwide.
Five other unions - CGT, FO, Sud, CNT and Faen - say schools should have more freedom to choose when and how to implement the reforms.
The government decree on school timetabling was passed at the end of January. President Hollande and education minister Vincent Peillon say they are keen to continue consulting parents and teachers.