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National protest set for March 19

Unions set new day for walkout ahead of talks with President Sarkozy.

EIGHT leading unions have set March 19 for a new day of demonstrations to demand more purchasing power for the French people.

Unions leaders believe that their day of action on January 29 Jeudi Noir was not enough and are already anticipating that talks with President Sarkozy on February 18 will be unsatisfactory.

They consider that so far the government’s actions to help ordinary people have been insufficient compared to the aid given to banks and companies. They want more measures to help those on low salaries and to boost spending.

The government is to hold preliminary meetings with each union from today, in the run-up to the “social summit” on February 18, which will bring together unions and employers’ organisations with the president.

Before yesterday’s meeting of the unions in Paris, at which the March date was agreed, CGT union leader Bernard Thibault said: “The unions are all disappointed so we will be discussing a new day of interprofessional action. It will be after the meeting with the head of state – because there is no sign that we will come out of that with answers.”

The unions concerned are the CGT, CFDT, FO, CGC, CFTC, UNSA, FSU and Solidaires.

Photo:Afp/Michel Gangne

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