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France hit by strike over economy and reforms

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France hit by strike over economy and reforms


France is bracing for another nationwide strike tomorrow that is expected to cause transport problems across the country.

It is the latest in a series of one-day stoppages by public and private sector workers against government reforms and the worsening economic situation. Unions are predicting even greater support for the action than a similar stoppage at the end of January. A poll on Monday indicated three-quarters of the population would back the strike. The organisers say it reflects a growing anger over President Nicholas Sarkozy’s economic policies. One leader of the Force Ouvriers union said: “The government would be wrong to underestimate the risk of violence. Violence hasn’t occurred yet, but the feeling is there, it’s always possible. The government needs to understand the situation and we are worried the President is hanging on to the economic dogmas upon which he was elected, but which have been swept aside by the financial crisis.” Unemployment is growing as the economic downtown takes its toll on France’s considerable manufacturing sector. Recent months have seen several big factory closures and more are on the horizon. This despite Sarkozy’s promise to protect, what he called “strategic industry.”

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