Eiffel Tower shut in French strike

Published: Thursday 9th April 2015 by The News Editor

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The Eiffel Tower closed, many schoolchildren across France had no classes and air traffic controllers were staying off work in a nationwide day of protests and strikes to air an array of grievances against the government.

Thousands of protesters, blowing whistles and waving union banners, marched in Paris in support of the catch-all movement of private and public sector workers.

The movement was likely to increase pressure on the already-unpopular Socialist government of President Francois Hollande.

The demonstrations and strikes in the protest-friendly country follow recent complaints by groups as diverse as doctors and notaries against recent government reforms, and on top of ongoing strikes by French air traffic controllers and workers at state radio.

The air traffic controllers were holding the second half of a two-day strike, which led to the cancellation of half of flights in and out of France on Thursday. Their walkout, in part over plans to raise their maximum retirement age to 59, was expected to resume in each of the next two weeks. Many European carriers were avoiding French airspace.

Radio France, the state-backed broadcaster, was entering the third week of its walkout to protest against budget cuts.

Railway workers, healthcare providers, teachers and energy sector personnel and others honoured Thursday’s general strike, partially to register discontent against a government reform plan that reduces workplace protections.

The powerful CGT union’s website laid out 10 of its reasons for employees to stay off the job – such as to end wage stagnation for state workers, demand equal pay for women and men, defend the state-supported healthcare system and battle the government’s so-called “Macron Law” bill that would reduce workplace protections coveted by many French employees.

A spokeswoman for the Eiffel Tower said many employees of the famed Paris landmark took part in solidarity with the overall movement.

Published: Thursday 9th April 2015 by The News Editor

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