Strike called on November 16

Union members march in the street with FO banners
Force Ouvrière has decided to take part in November's protest

A day of strikes and protests is planned on Thursday November 16 by unions opposed to policies of President Macron that they believe will lead to more inequality and less job security.

For the first time the large Force Ouvrière (FO) union is joining in with the protests, lining up with CGT and Solidaires and three student unions (Unef, Unl and Fidl).

FO had not previously not taken part in protest days organised by the CGT and this comes despite the fact that the last one on October 19 is estimated to have attracted a third of the support of the previous one on September 21.

No one was available to speak to us at FO headquarters, but commentators think its decision may be due to the fact that November’s protest is not just about the work law, but has been broadened to include various policies the unions consider too economically ‘liberal’ (a free market focus, as opposed to protecting rights). It is also follows grassroots pressure from the union’s members.

The unions say in a joint statement: “One thing is becoming obvious: an economically liberal politics aiming at increasing inequality to benefit a minority.”

The strike was called after an inter-union meeting at the headquarters of the union CFDT however CFDT, CFTC and Unsa decided that they would not take part.

The protestors say matters they are protesting about include:

-          Changes in work law which reduce workers’ rights

-          Risks to the rights of workers and jobseekers related to unemployment benefit and training

-          More insecurity for young people seeking to enter work

-          Low salaries and increases in the CSG social charge

-          Threats to public services and social welfare

According to the Interior Ministry 37,700 took part in protests in Paris and other cities on October 19.

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