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Unions plan more strikes for June

Two dates picked for protests against pension reform and changes to 35-hour working week.

Unions are preparing for a further round of strikes in June to protest against pension reform and changes to the 35-hour working week.

Civil servants and train drivers are expected to strike on June 10 and the two main unions – the CGT and CFDT – have called for a day of strikes and protests on June 17.

The protest focus on Nicolas Sarkozy’s right-wing UMP party’s attempts to reform the economy.

Contested measures include scrapping the 35-hour working week, extending the number of years needed to work for a full pension (40 to 41) and job cuts in the civil service through non-replacement of retirees.

The French fonction publique – civil service, employs more of the population than any other EU country.

The main SNCF rail service unions also object to reform plans for rail freight and the SNCF’s new commercial strategies.

Work Minister Xavier Bertand said the government will still press ahead with its reforms.
He said: “If the government wants to go further in relaxing the 35-hour rule, it’s because the French economy needs it to happen.”

Unions will meet throughout next week to formalise plans for a series of strikes throughout June.

Photo: Credit Flickr/Tendencies

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