Workers strike across France calling for pay rises amid inflation

Strikers are calling for action to be taken to address rapid rises in the cost of living

Workers from across a range of industries are striking today in France
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Strikes are planned across France today (January 27) and protest marches are set to take place, as workers from heavy industry, transport, farming and public services call for salary increases amid sharp rises in living costs.

Up to 20% of teachers, who have already been involved in union action on January 13 and 20, will also be striking according to primary and nursery school union Snuipp-FSU.

Read more:French school strike: renewed action taking place today (January 20)

As transport workers mobilise as well, regional train services may be disrupted. In Ile-de-France, one in three trains will be running on the RER B Nord. On the RER A, C, D and the Transilien line H, the proportion will be three in every four trains.

Read more:Nice to make parking free today due to public transport strike

The strike was called by the CGT, FO, FSU and Solidaires unions.

Céline Verzeletti, confederal director of the CGT, told AFP that: “We want to do much more than on October 5.”

On this day, workers took strike action in protest against rising energy prices, changing rules for unemployment and retirement benefits and reducing spending power. The interior ministry reported that 85,400 people had taken part, while the CGT claimed the real number was more than 160,000.

170 protest marches across the country

In Paris, today’s protesters will meet at Place de la Bastille around midday, before heading towards Bercy and the finance ministry at 14:00.

With 73 days to go until this year’s presidential election first round, candidates including Fabien Roussel (Communist Party), Yannick Jadot (Europe Ecology - The Greens) and Jean-Luc Mélenchon (La France Insoumise, left-wing) will also be present.

Lycée students were due to gather at Place de la Nation at 11:00.

A call for pay rises

Unions are demanding a rise in the French minimum wage and to civil servant salaries, as well as pension allocations, in response to the rapid inflation of the cost of living in France, which sat at 2.8% in December.

The worker organisations have criticised the fact that the government has not introduced any boost to the minimum wage beyond automatic increases.

CFDT boss Laurent Berger has also called for the government to reconsider the salaries of workers said to be on the ‘second line’, which include drivers, home-help services and supermarket staff.

However, the CFDT will not be joining the strike today, as “it is the multiplication of concrete and targeted initiatives which will produce results. Not a huge interprofessional protest. A catch-all approach does not work.”

This union will instead be organising an “essential workers march” on February 3, which will gather together several hundred people in Paris.

The unions taking part in today’s strike will meet again tomorrow to decide what should happen next.

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