400,000 workers rallied in 192 different locations across France on 12 September in opposition to new labour reforms proposed by French President Emmanuel Macron, and over the following days the CGT called 4,000 strikes across the country. The 60,000-strong crowd that gathered in Paris sent a forceful message to the Government, and police responded with tear gas and water cannons.
The Macron Government is defending the reforms, saying that greater flexibility in the labour market is needed to attract foreign investment and bring down unemployment. He sparked criticism last week by calling opponents of the reform fainéante (lazy/slackers), and many workers that protested last week carried ironic placards reading “Je suis fainéante”.
CGT General-Secretary Philippe Martinez has called the labour reforms “serious social regressions” that “give full powers to employers”. CGT and other French unions will be organizing non-stop against the reforms in the coming weeks, as the French Parliament is looking to adopt the reforms this month.
CGT have called a subsequent protest for 21 September.