Tue Mar 5, 2013 2:28PM
Members of labor unions in France have staged nationwide protests against the government’s move to reform the labor law, causing disruptions in services. Low-level transport, port and power sector employees of multinational companies have shut down factories across France on Tuesday, in opposition to the "flexicurity" reform plan aimed at restoring industrial competitiveness. The strikes caused disruptions in services including delays in some flights and underground metro services in Paris. The far-left CGT and OF unions backed by two smaller unions said the reform plan will threaten workers' rights by making it easier for companies to cut salaries and working hours in times of financial difficulty. Organizers expect hundreds of thousands more protesters to join the march by 2 p.m. local time in Paris, on the eve of a cabinet meeting during which government ministers will push the reform plan into draft law. The deal was agreed upon on January 11, giving more rights to companies to dismiss workers who refuse to participate as well as making it easier for firms to put employees on shorter hours. It also gives more job security for staff on short-term programs. According to an opinion poll conducted by the French research company IPSOS in January, more than half of the people in the country are worried about unemployment and job security. Healthcare, insecurity, cultural differences and recession were also among the issues most occupying the minds of the respondents. French companies have struggled since Europe's financial downturn in 2008. GMA/PKH