Three weeks after a refinery strike caused fuel shortages across the country, thousands of protesters are set to march in Paris on Sunday, adding to the picture of defiance and anger over inflation.
The demonstration on Sunday was called by left-wing political parties backed by hundreds of associations seeking to build on the momentum created by the refinery crisis.
“You can see that this movement is starting to spread,” Speaker of Parliament from the left France is not curved Barty, Mathilde Bannot, for Radio France Info.
“You can see it in nuclear section. She added that truck drivers announced a stoppage on Tuesday, and many other sectors began to join them.”
Several, but not all, French unions have declared a national day of strikes on Tuesday that is expected to affect road transport, trains and the public sector.
French energy giant Total Energy said last Friday that it had reached a wage agreement with the two largest unions representing employees in its four refineries, raising hopes of an end to the crisis.
But the CGT union, notorious for the hardliners, refused to accept it, and its members continued to maintain picket lines.
Budget Minister Gabriel Atal condemned the continuation of the strike on Sunday, describing it as “unacceptable”.
“Of course there is a right to strike, but at some point the country needs to be able to work,” he told French media.
Employees in two other refineries he owns we The company said that the Esso-ExxonMobil group returned to work last weekend, but that operations there would need two to three weeks to return to normal.
About a third of gas stations across the country have supply problems, especially those around Paris And in the north, which means drivers often wait for hours to refuel.
Many companies have cut back on travel and deliveries, while emergency service vehicles are experiencing supply problems.
Last week, the government resorted to emergency powers to force some striking fuel depot workers back to their jobs in order to release stuck fuel stocks inside the besieged facilities.
This infuriated the CGT, who said the move was evidence of the French president’s “dictatorship.” Emmanuel Macron.
The huge profits made by energy groups due to record fuel prices have led to some sympathy with employees who are pushing for higher wages.
But one opinion poll conducted by the BVA polling group, published on Friday, indicated that only 37 percent of people supported the strike.
France Unboyed has called for Sunday’s protest march in Paris and won the support of its coalition allies – the Greens, the Socialists and the Communists.
Annie Erno, a Nobel laureate in literature, and 60 other figures from the arts and public life also invited people to join the march in a joint letter last week.
Police expect about 30,000 people to attend, with one source saying they fear trouble from anarchist groups that regularly clash with security forces on the sidelines of French protests.
“The regulator has been warned of these concerns,” the official said.
The scale of the protests and strikes in the coming months may have an impact on the government’s ability to push for a very controversial change to the pension system.
Macron, who was re-elected in April, has pledged to delay the retirement age from 62 to bring France into line with the retirement age. European peers.
But the idea is strongly opposed by trade unions and left-wing parties.
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