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France facing another week of strikes and protests

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France facing another week of strikes and protests
Photo!: AFP
08:47 CEST+02:00
While the start of Euro 2016 has acted as a distraction normality will return to France this week with strikes and street protests planned.

With the government's controversial labour reforms going before the Senate this week, the French trade unions leading the opposition are expected to step up their campaign.

While an Air France pilots strike and industrial action on the rails continued on Monday the CGT union was hoping Tuesday would see the biggest street protest against the reforms in months.

“We are going to show a demonstration of force, that we haven't seen in four months,” promised the leader of the CGT union Philippe Martinez.

“On March 3rd we were 1.2 million in the streets across France. We need to do even better,” he added.

The union says 450 coaches will bring protesters to Paris from across France.  Unions from Italy, Switzerland and Spain are also said to be sending in reinforcements.

The CGT and other unions believe the labour reforms are an attack on workers' rights because it will become far easier for them to be fired or to have to accept working longer hours.

The government and business leaders says the reforms are necessary to reduce record high unemployment and will encourage firms to take on new staff.

As for the strikes that threatened to blight the start of Euro 2016, they were continuing on Monday albeit with less disruption to trains than when they started at the beginning of June.

On Monday, some 90 percent of TGV services were running, compared to 50 percent when the rolling strike began on May 31st.

Seven out 10 regional TER trains were operating and in the Paris region six out of 10 Transiliens trains were running.

Rubbish collection was still an issue in Paris with the waste processing plants still blocked. Although Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo had vowed to collect all the rubbish, it continued to pile up on the streets, even if collections were being made.

The Air France pilots' strike which began on Saturday is set to continue until Tuesday.

On Monday the airline said around 20 percent of flights were cancelled as around one in four pilots joined the strike.

Passengers have been advised to contract the airline but should also expect last minute cancellations and delays.

 

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