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Archive for Monday, March 27, 2006

Unions vow to conduct major strike Tuesday

March 27, 2006

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— French students and unions insisted Sunday they will go ahead with a one-day national strike and more street protests unless the government withdraws a youth labor law that has sparked violent demonstrations and shut down universities.

The strike Tuesday is expected to leave some air travelers stranded, disrupt train traffic and slow subway travel in Paris and the provinces. Union leaders said they would meet Wednesday to decide on the next step, and one threatened to extend the strike.

"If there is not a positive response from the government Tuesday night, we will continue the movement," Jean-Claude Mailly of the Workers Force union said.

The National Student Coordination, a loose grouping of university students, urged a big turnout for the strike and demanded the conservative government's resignation. Meeting in Aix-en-Provence, they also threatened to continue protests by blocking roads and railways Thursday.

The disputed new law lets companies dismiss workers under 26 without cause during their first two years on the job - a loosening of strong job protections that the government hopes will encourage employers to hire more young workers and reduce high unemployment.

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