Protest against labour code reform continues in France

Paris, April 10 (IANS) Thousands of workers and students were mobilised on Saturday for a new day of protest, the sixth such movement to force the government to drop a draft bill to reform the country’s labour code.

In Paris, chiefs of main trade unions joined youth organisations to head thousands of demonstrators at the Republic Square to show their determination to challenge “the government’s stubbornness” to pass the labour reform draft, Xinhua reported.

Clashes broke out between police and protesters in the French capital rally where hooded youth threw projectiles wounding one officer. At least one man was arrested, according to local reports.

Thee other policemen were injured in Rennes, western France, during confrontation with “extremely violent” demonstrators, who numbered 1,700 according to police while unions said they were 4, 000.

In the southern city of Toulouse, the rally drew 8,000 people, police data showed, against 20,000 on March 31. CGT union numbered 20,000 on Saturday compared to 100,000 last week.

Between 2,600 and 15,000 people took to streets in Nantes, western France, and between 1,350 and 3,000 demonstrators were counted in the eastern city of Strasbourg.

“The mobilisation enters the second month. We are optimistic and determined,” Jean-Claude Mailly, secretary general of French workers union Force Ouvriere, was quoted as saying by BFMTV news channel.

Under fire for broken promises to bring down jobless claims, the ruling Socialists proposed to reform the country’s strictly codified labour code in a way to make layoffs easier, reduce overtime pay and economic redundancies and open to negotiation working hours and rest time holiday.

French unions and leftist politicians, however, say such move would create more low-paid jobs and further weaken workers’ receipts.

Unemployment in France stands at 10.2 percent with young people aged between 18 and 25.

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