French unions call for rethink on austerity measures

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French unions call for rethink on austerity measures

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A day after being crowned the most unpopular French president after six months in office, Francois Hollande has been left in no doubt as to what many think of France’s austerity package.

Thousands of demonstrators marched through Paris and several other cities in what union leaders called a massive show of solidarity.

“We are totally united because today it’s obvious that the economy is not limited to our country or our region. Europe is so small already, and one can see that market fluctuations are global. So we need to have European unity at the very least,” said one demonstrator.

Because the crisis is having the same devastating effects across the bloc, many believe the solution must come through joint, consolidated action.

Francois François Chérèque, Secretary General of the CFDT union said: “this protest is a message to European leaders. They’re all concerned, whether they be French, German or Italian. They all take decisions, on a European level, which put us in an impossible situation. And it’s even worse for Greece, Spain and Portugal than it is for France.”

There are 130 demonstrations against austerity in all France, organized by five trade unions. It is the first initiative of this kind in this country since a left-wing Government took office.

Although the protests in France have been dwarfed by larger and louder ones in Spain, our correspondent in Paris says people here have more than matched their neighbours’ strength of feeling against austerity measures and insecurity for workers.