French unions march for higher pay as price of dwelling spikes

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PARIS, Oct 5 (Reuters) – French labour unions marched for higher pay and social advantages, as costs for power and meals rise and the federal government resumes a reform programme interrupted by the COVID-19 disaster.

Thousands marched in cities throughout France, warning President Emmanuel Macron to not restart a reform drive that was halted throughout the pandemic and urging him to not contact the pension and unemployment insurance coverage methods.

“It is important to show that the anger and the social problems are still there, more than ever, as we resume social action,” hard-left CGT union secretary normal Philippe Martinez advised Reuters at a march in Paris.

He stated his union was marching for greater salaries, as frontline staff nonetheless have the identical pay ranges as earlier than the COVID disaster, whereas costs are spiralling upwards.

Force Ouvriere union chief Yves Veyrier advised Reuters {that a} 2.2% enhance of the minimal wage this month was solely catching up with previous inflation, and he referred to as on employers’ federations to begin talks about greater wages.

“There is an immediate emergency on salaries … the recent price increases for gas, electricity, fuel and food … will hit people hard this winter. That’s why we are telling the government that we need a real boost to minimum wages,’ he said.

Ministers defended the centrist government’s policies in parliament on Tuesday, saying that the replacement wages put in place for workers furloughed by the pandemic had been the largest worker support programme seen in France seen in decades.

“Nobody has protected French folks greater than now we have in these previous months,” Labour Minister Elizabeth Borne said.

Reporting by Clotaire Achi, Ardee Napolitano and Geert De Clercq; Editing by Giles Elgood

Protestors hold CGT labour union, Force Ouvriere (FO) labour union and  Federation Syndicale Unitaire (FSU) union flags during a demonstration in Nice as part of a day of strikes and protests against French government's economic and social policies, France, October 5, 2021.   REUTERS/Eric Gaillard

CGT labour union members attend a demonstration in Nice as part of a day of strikes and protests against French government's economic and social policies, France, October 5, 2021.   REUTERS/Eric Gaillard

CGT labour union members attend a demonstration in Nice as part of a day of strikes and protests against French government's economic and social policies, France, October 5, 2021.   REUTERS/Eric Gaillard