Protests have been held across France against a government decision to get rid of today’s Pentecost public holiday. With millions of workers on strike there was confusion as to who would or would not be turning up for work on the so-called day of solidarity with the elderly.
One supermarket worker echoed a common sentiment in France. He could not see why he had to lose a public holiday, saying he would rather work on a different day for free. A high proportion of children failed to turn up for their classes many unsure if their school was open or not.
The centre right Prime minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin scrapped the Pentecost holiday to generate extra cash for healthcare after 2003’s deadly heatwave. He stressed that it was the right of each employer and employee to work out a solution that suits them best. But it appears that it is that strategy that has caused much of the confusion today, while most in the private sector were expected at work – the same could not be said of those in state employment.