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Trade union workers march across France in protest over rising cost of living

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By Euronews  with AP
Protestors march during a demonstration in Paris, 27 October 2022
Protestors march during a demonstration in Paris, 27 October 2022   -   Copyright  AP Photo/Thibault Camus   -  

Thousands of trade union workers marched in Paris to demand higher wages to keep up with inflation.

The protest in the French capital was a part of a nationwide day of walkouts and transport strikes by train drivers and other public sector employees that caused major commuter disruption.

Worker discontent in France and around Europe is on the rise, with those demonstrating saying they can not make ends meet.

Members of the French national student union marched alongside the trade union members.

"We all feel personally affected and in solidarity (with the workers) because we are workers too," Victor Mendez, President of the National Student Union of France)at the University of Paris in Nanterre said.

"Most of the students work in addition to their studies, and after (classes) we go to work, and we see our families struggling, so it's our struggle too." 

"Most of the families are having a hard time buying a box of eggs or bread or even meat, that's not possible in France with 'the world's sixth strongest country.'"

"We believe the best way is to raise the salaries and to fund all public services with taxes on the rich. This is what we are demanding," Mendez explained.

The French authorities claimed a total of some 30,400 people gathered across France on Thursday. The CGT union, however, stated more than 100,000 participants took to the streets.

French protests one of many across the continent

Last month, a strike by oil refinery workers caused nationwide fuel shortages that disrupted lives and businesses.

The French government intervened to force them back to work.

Europe has faced a series of protests and strikes in recent months over soaring inflation.

Nurses, pilots, postal workers, railway staff and others have walked off the job, seeking wages that keep pace with inflation as Russia's war in Ukraine has driven up energy and food prices.

Labour unions have also organised street protests to pressure governments to do more to ease rising bills, even as European leaders have passed energy relief packages.

General strikes over the cost of living increases caused by inflation and higher energy costs linked to Moscow's aggression against its western neighbour snarled traffic through much of Belgium and shut down public services in Greece on Wednesday.