Hundreds of French workers for German car parts maker Continental have marched through central Paris. They were protesting against the closure of the company’s Clairoix tyre-making plant in northern France
The demonstration was timed to coincide with a meeting involving Continental’s bosses and the French Economy Minister Christine Lagarde and the Industry Minister Luc Chatel. The workers were particularly angry that just two years ago they had agreed to a longer working week to boost production when demand was high. Now Continental has said because of slumping European car sales it must close the factory next year putting more than 1,100 people out of work. The protest came as new government figures were released showing the number of people without jobs in mainland France in February rose by almost 80,000 to nearly 2,385,000. That is a 3.5 percent increase from the previous month. The total was up by 19 percent from February last year. It is the tenth month in a row the number of job seekers has gone up. But January was worse with 90,000 people joining the jobless ranks, France’s biggest ever monthly increase.