Thousands take to the streets to stop workers’ contracts becoming ‘rags’
THOUSANDS took to Paris’s streets yesterday to protest against new presidential decrees that attack workers’ which will turn contracts from “safeguards” into a “paper rag.”
Leftwinger Jean-Luc Melenchon, whose party France Unbowed organised yesterday’s protest, insisted that its not too late to reverse President Emanuel Macron’s diktats.
The French president signed the decrees on Friday, sending them to parliament for approval — with no option of amendment.
They allow employers to opt out of industry-wide collective bargaining agreements and make it easier for bosses to fire workers.
Addressing 150,000-strong crowds gathered in the the Place de la Republique, built to honour the French revolution of 1789, Mr Melenchon said: “The battle isn’t over — it is beginning.
“It’s the street that brought down the kings. It’s the street that brought down the nazis.”
He warned that “work contracts will no longer be a safeguard but a sort of paper rag.”
Critics of the president said his use of executive orders to fast-track the changes was monarchical.
The protest was the third in just two weeks with 132,000 attending a demonstration on Thursday, and double that the week before.
Mr Melenchon said he would reach out to unions to join forces against the legislation, which he said threatens the French way of life. All of Europe is watching us ... What is happening is the battle for France,” he said.
The legislation builds on 2016’s EU-pushed El Khomri law that sparked a year of strikes and protests — and was forced through under emergency powers by former president Francois Hollande after parliament twice voted it down.
Mr Melenchon urged supporters to come out again next Saturday for a “pots and pans” protest.
“Grab your pots next Saturday to make as much noise as possible,” he said.
“This is what our message will be: You make our lives miserable. You prevent us from dreaming so we will prevent you from sleeping.”