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Media blackout as France witnesses biggest revolution in 200 years


France is currently in a state of emergency as protestor flood the streets. It is believed that a new French Revolution is currently taking place.

The first collaborative protest against the Socialist government since Hollande came to power in 2012, kicked off on 9 March. On March 31, nearly 400,000 people took to the streets, disagreeing with the sweeping changes to labor laws; though organizers put the number at 1.2 million.

On April 9, about 120,000 people marched in Paris and across France for a sixth time, protesting against contested labor reforms. Organizers called for yet another strike on April 28, and a massive protest on May 1, Labor Day.

Reports of police officers clashing with protesters, deploying tear gas in several French cities, and protesters burning vehicles, smashing windows flooded the Internet.

In his response, Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said in the city of Lyon:

“I call on the organizers of these demonstrations to condemn with the same firmness that I do the unrest caused by these handful of thugs.”

Demanding a complete withdrawal of the draft reform bill, French workers stepped up protests, rallies and blockades in the third week of May.  As per the latest updates, one in three gas stations across the country run dry, causing long queues at normally well-stocked stations. There are blockades at 5 of France’s 8 oil refineries. Nearly 1/5th of nuclear power output is cut by striking staff. Since the nation’s electricity supply has dropped, the government is forced to dig into its emergency reserves.

On May 26, more than 150,000 marched against the government’s plans to make it easier for firms to hire and fire. Reuters reports:

In the southwestern city of Bordeaux, about 100 people targeted a police station, throwing objects and damaging a police car. In Paris and in the western city of Nantes, bank windows were broken and protesters clashed with police. The next big day of protests is planned on June 14 [when French senators begin discussing the reform package], four days after the Euro 2016 soccer tournament opens in France. The CGT warned it could be disrupted if the government refuses to withdraw the draft reform bill.

Although, French Prime Minister Manuel Valls is willing to modify some of the proposals, workers’ unions are unwilling to back down. Particularly angry that the government is enacting a constitutional power to bypass parliament to pass the bill, several unions led by one of the country’s largest unions, the General Confederation of Labor (or the CGT),declared in an open letter:

“This week, the actions, the strikes and the blockades by workers from a number of industries to demand the retraction of this labor bill and to obtain new rights show that our determination remains intact.”

The Controversial Labor Reform:

  1. Makes it easier for companies to lay off staff and cut costs in difficult economic times.
  1. Allows companies to opt out of national labor protection rules if they reach in-house deals on pay and conditions with the consent of a majority of their staff – and not the trade unions.
  1. Allows employers to extend the legal work week from current 35 hours to 48 hours – up to 60 hours with an ‘exceptional authorization’, and reduce overtime from current 25% to not less than 10%.
  1. Proposes surtax on short-term contracts aimed at getting employers to hire more people on permanent contracts
  1. Introduces a cap – 15 months of pay – on compensation in cases of unfair dismissal.

Plagued by dismal popularity ratings and high unemployment, President Hollande, who staked his whole term in office on improving life for the country’s struggling youth, says the labor reform is vital to tackle joblessness. Labor Minister Myrian El Khomri, too, defends the new labor law dubbed “the bosses law” by its opponents.

“This law corresponds to the situation in our country. We have an unemployment rate of over 10% the same as it was 20 years ago. It has improved over the last month, however that is not satisfactory. Our country created fewer jobs than other European countries [Between 2013 and 2015, 57,000 jobs were created in France, 482,000 in Germany, 651,000 in Spain and 288,000 in Italy.] So for me the text and the goal of this reform is to be able to just improve access to employment.”

However, opponents of the labor reform say it will threaten cherished rights and deepen job insecurity for young people by helping companies fire staff arbitrarily. Henry Samuel and Raziye Akkoc of The Telegraph observed:

The government believes it will create thousands of jobs but the IMF, and the French opposition say the reform doesn’t go nearly far enough to significantly reverse record unemployment, now at 10%, and soaring public debt, due to reach 98% of GDP next year.

What Lies Ahead

This is the first time a Socialist French government has faced a nationwide trade union rebellion in more than 30 years. The left’s opposition to the reforms has been vast, threatening to tear apart Hollande’s own support base.

The proposed reform has compounded the fury of many within the Socialist Party and the further left at what they see as the treacherous, rightward course of the Hollande-Valls government. The protests have been led by the former Socialist leader, and “mother” of the 35-hour week, Martine Aubry, who has resigned from all her official positions within the party. Aubry complains that the rewriting of French employment law in line with “liberal” pro-market dogma is a betrayal of the French “social contract.”

An online petition against the proposed changes has gathered over 1 million signatures, a record in France. According to a recent Le Parisien poll, a majority of French people favor labor reforms, but 70% oppose the government’s way of going about it.

It will be a political suicide for Hollande if he rolls back the labor reform – he has promised he will not run for re-election next year unless he manages to stem the rise in unemployment. But as The Guardian rightly notes, it is not just Hollande’s political survival at stake, though, but the image of France itself.


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  • Godblessourchildren

    Now we know the reason for the open borders to the near east and African migrants. Same is happening in the USA. American workers are being replaced by African migrants.

  • jojo

    “Socialist President Hollande, who staked his whole term in office on improving
    life for the country’s struggling youth, says the labor reform is vital
    to tackle joblessness.”
    What – the – FUCK?
    Nothing a few more million imported muslim peasants can’t fix, right Socialists??

  • jojo

    do they work or just collect social benefits? (serious question)

  • Jayson Carmichael

    My video working class socailists against EU

  • BoS

    Don’t the French have 2 months of paid vacation?

  • Neil E.

    generalisations are for lazy ignorant people who need to be told they’re right. I cant believe how dumb people still are in the 21st century. If you bomb their country you have to accept refugees, by the way I know you are white. what colour am I?

  • Paul Wonnacott

    You must be a right mug if you think he or any others of the Centre Left of Euro politics are Socialists, like Blair’s New Labour, just another lapdog of the ruling elite

  • Lolita Swift


  • Andreas Nicolids

    When EU bureaucrats don’t listen to anyone this is what happens. – Power to the People

  • bronxboi

    The problem with your argument is that there are other nations with similar social contracts that are doing well. Instead of looking at the issues affecting France, you are just making assumptions based on an agenda.

  • Cedric Longbeard

    I would like to see your answer to Jojo’s question. Either the “evil migrants” are stealing all of your jobs OR they are all lazy and living on benefits. You can’t have it both ways. If it’s the first one, then american workers are clearly the most unemployable people on the planet if they are losing out to African migrants. If it’s the second one, then your original statement is clearly a load of nonsense that you pulled out of your back side.

  • French

    xD I’m french, and you are talking about school time, but when you work you get 5 weeks of vacations.

  • dustwardprez

    This is not true.

  • dustwardprez

    Is this from some white power press? Because I smell National Front bullshit.

  • Frank W. Abernathy

    Yes. You can have both.

  • Steve Ascott

    Schrodingers immigrant LOL

  • Steve Ascott

    No I lived there 8 years -they get the same as most people in the UK

  • Beautiful!

  • leif

    Funny how one could pose a dualistic question and then expect an actual critique. Here jojo, what is the problem with wages racing to the bottom when jobs are globalized? How does immigration, which was definitely caused by corporate colonization, help raise wages and standard of living? The biggest problem isn’t immigration, yet we see that it is a problem. Stating that some immigrants are living off of a countries social benefits can be true, just like some immigrants are working low paying jobs and continuing the push for stagnate wages. When you push for these ideas of open immigration, you really are in the pocket of the wealthiest. They (the wealthy) have you coming and going.

  • Jeff Dwyer

    just like in Spain, the unemployed Americans don’t have enough education to tie their own shoelaces, and they’re too lazy to get one and too proud of their ignorance to work at ‘menial’ jobs. Rather stay home, complain about immigrants, and polish their knobs . . . uh … guns. So the immigrants will work at whatever they find and then get the education to move up in their lives. More power to them. They are not the problem.

  • BrainSync

    With the excuse of creating more jobs they are worsening the work conditions.
    The problem is not immigrants, the problem is the elite. Millions work their a** off for ridiculous pay, while the 1% sit their a** on millions. The conflict between nations and migrants has always been smoke in the eyes. Remember “Dividi et impera”, always works.

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