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FRANCE

One thousand truck drivers block motorways across France in diesel protest

Motorways and roads across the country are to be blocked on Saturday, with truck drivers protesting against tax increases on diesel fuel.

One thousand truck drivers block motorways across France in diesel protest
Photo: PHILIPPE HUGUEN / AFP

The majority of the blockades are to take place in the southeast of the country. The A8 motorway is expected to be affected, along with roads in the vicinity of Toulouse, Marseille and Aix-en-Provence (Bouches-du-Rhône).

The 2020 budget has forecast a two cent per litre increase on diesel fuel.

OTRE (Organization European Transport Transporters), the third largest trade union in the transportation sector, called on its members to block motorways on Saturday. The two largest trade union organisations – the FNTR and the TLF – do not support the blockade.

OTRE said in a statement that the cumulative effect of the tax would be forcing drivers to spend an additional 800 euros per year.

“Increasing the tax on fuel has no environmental value and represents an additional cost of 800 euros per vehicle per year for carriers” the statement read.

Strikes in a variety of industry sectors have taken place across the country this week, crippling mobility and shutting down businesses.

 

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STRIKES

French customs officers strike over job cuts

Customs officers across France will walk out on Thursday in protest at job cuts that unions say will “weaken the customs network”.

French customs officers strike over job cuts

The national strike on Thursday, March 10th is expected to lead to delays at ports, airports and on the Eurostar.

The strike, which will include a rally outside the National Assembly building in Paris, was called by the CFDT-Douane and has the support of other unions. 

A work-to-rule protest over pay and conditions by customs officers in 2019, under the shadow of Brexit, led to delays and disruption at airports, as well as ports including Calais and Dunkirk, and on Eurostar trains.

Unions are calling on the government to axe plans to switch responsibility for import duty collection to the Direction Générale des Finances Publiques by 2024, at the cost of 700 customs’ officer jobs – and, according to strikers, tens of billions of euros to State coffers.

“We are asking for the reforms to be stopped, mainly that of the transfer of taxation, which is disorganising the network with the elimination of nearly a thousand jobs,” CFDT-Douane’s secretary general David-Olivier Caron said.

The planned job cuts come after years of restructuring and streamlining that has seen thousands of positions disappear, the unions say, when customs fraud and smuggling is rising because of a lack of resources.

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