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French unions announce new day of strikes against pension reform

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AFP/The Local France - [email protected]
French unions announce new day of strikes against pension reform
Protestors hold banners reading "Strike" (L) and "64" (R) during a demo in Strasbourg France on March 23, 2023. (Photo by PATRICK HERTZOG / AFP)

French unions have announced a tenth day of strikes for Tuesday, March 28th in their ongoing battle to derail the French government's controversial pension reform.

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French trade unions have called for a new day of nation-wide strikes and protests next Tuesday (March 28th), which will coincide with a scheduled visit by Britain's King Charles III to the country.

The new date of March 28th was announced on Thursday in a joint statement by trade union organisations which blamed the government for the "explosive situation" in the country and called on workers to continue protesting against President Emmanuel Macron's pension reform.

Tuesday's strike will be the tenth since the start of walkouts in protest against pension reform in France. The announcement comes the same day as the ninth inter-sector day of action, which saw protests across the country.

Union sources claim that around 3.5 million people took to the streets across the country, while the ministry of the interior cites around one million participants. Clashes between protesters and police were reported.

READ MORE: LATEST: Riot police clash with pension reform protesters in Paris

During the day of action on Thursday, union activists blocked access to Terminal 1 at the Paris - Charles de Gaulle airport, and union sources estimate that about 25 percent of SNCF (French national rail service) workers walked out.

Despite requisitions, rolling strikes have continued in certain sectors, such as oil refineries and waste collection. According to Franceinfo, approximately 17.9 percent of French service stations were reporting some shortages as of Thursday, with 8.8 percent completely out of fuel.

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A representative for the CGT union representing oil refinery workers warned Franceinfo on Thursday that "fuel shortages will intensify" in the coming days, as refineries and fuel depots remain blocked.

READ MORE: MAP: Where in France are blockades causing fuel shortages?

Though government has begun forcing striking refuse collectors in Paris back to work using requisition laws, local officials estimate that it will take up to two weeks to clear the estimated 9,000 tonnes of rubbish from the capital's streets.

The announcement for more strike action comes a day after French president Emmanuel Macron addressed the nation on Wednesday after his government survived two votes of no-confidence, saying that he wanted the government's controversial pension reform to come into force by the end of the year, insisting it was "necessary" despite nationwide protests.

You can keep up to date with strike action in France HERE.

You can listen to The Local France's team discuss the political crisis in the new Talking France podcast on Spotify, Apple or Google podcasts. You can download it HERE 

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