Labour law row: France braces for more strikes | world | Hindustan Times
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Labour law row: France braces for more strikes

France is bracing for new strikes this week and continues to face a gasoline shortage, with six out of height refineries blocked or partially disrupted by protests against a labor law.

world Updated: May 31, 2016 18:47 IST
France

A Transilien, the suburban railway service of French state-owned railway company SNCF, speeds on the railtrack in Charenton-le-Pont near Paris as railway workers start a national railway strike on Tuesday evening. (REUTERS)

France is bracing for new strikes this week and continues to face a gasoline shortage, with six out of eight refineries blocked or partially disrupted by protests against a labour law.

About 20 per cent of gas stations were still low or empty across the country Tuesday, according to the UFIP national oil industry lobby.

Despite three months of stoppages and sometimes violent demonstrations against labour reforms in France, President Francois Hollande has refused to bend to the unions’ demands to scrap the controversial legislation.

The measures, which would make it easier to hire and fire employees, “will not be withdrawn”, a defiant Hollande told Sud Ouest newspaper.

Some French labor unions have called for new strikes in the coming days that will target trains, the Paris subway system, ports and possibly airports.

The junior minister for transportation, Alain Vidalies, said 60 percent of the country’s high speed trains and half the Paris regional trains are expected to run on Wednesday.

A few hundred protesters blocked commercial transportation trucks in a transit area near Marseille for a few hours on Tuesday.

The rolling train strike called by the powerful CGT union is expected to affect around half of national and regional services by the time it takes full effect on Wednesday.

That will be followed by industrial action on the Paris Metro from Thursday, with Air France pilots also voting in principle for a lengthy strike at some point in June, when Euro 2016 is in full swing.