French public sector employees struck work on 19 March to demand wage increase to compensate for inflation and to oppose massive cuts in social spending by state

Report by Kamgar Ekta Committee (KEC) correspondent

Public sector employees in France held massive protests on 19 March, demanding an increase in wages to compensate for cuts in their real wages due to the inflation. Major rallies were held in Paris, Bordeaux, Lille, Lyon, Marseille, Montpellier, Nantes, and Toulouse. They also denounced the government’s decree of 22 February 22, stipulating a reduction of €10 billion (USD 10.85 billion) in state spending for 2024, on top of €16 billion (USD 17. 38 billion) in cuts already made in the 2024 budget.

They also participated in a general strike on 19 March called for by the General Confederation of Labor (CGT), the French Democratic Confederation of Labour (CFDT), Solidaires, Force Ouvrière (FO), the CFE-CGC, the Autonomous Federation, the SNES-FSU and the UNSA.

The French government has enacted harsh austerity measures in the country and made massive cuts in social spending, and amended pension schemes, which have met with widespread protests. Public sector hospitals and schools have been reeling under decades-long divestment and cuts.

The COVID-19 crisis and the ongoing cost of living crisis marked by high inflation in France and across Europe have also put the French working class in distress.

The General Confederation of Labor (CGT) said that “rather than reducing the massive and unconditional public aid paid to private companies, rather than taxing the richest, the government continues to make households, employees, pensioners, young people, and the unemployed pay.”

The CGT warned that the new cuts will impact ecology, labour, education and research, public housing, international aid, and other crucial areas of social spending.

Another labour leader told the media “For the past 15 years, the purchasing power of civil servants has been steadily decreasing! This year again, revaluations remain below inflation. There is an impoverishment of those who keep our daily public services alive, close to home.”

 

 

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