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French unions strike against more austerity amid inflation

French President, Emmanuel Macron. (File Image)

Members of the top eight French unions walked off the job demanding higher pay to offset the enduring inflation.

France's unions united for a massive nationwide strike to demand higher wages in the face of prolonged record inflation.

In the past two years, the annual inflation rate has combined to reach 10% in France. However, in that same timeframe, public sector workers have been given raises which add up to only 5%.

Since 6 million people work for the government, that means 21% of all workers, and their household dependents, have been suffering economically since inflation began to soar above the unofficial limit of 2% in August 2021.

Everyone here is working for the same goal to serve our population and to provide them with free government services of good quality. All workers need their wages to improve immediately and this is undeniable.

Striker 01

Last month, the government added €10 billion in new budget cuts to the already austerity-driven 2024 annual budget.

They even warned that more cuts would be coming soon, meaning workers should expect even less help from the government.

How can we attempt the same failed cure of austerity again? When you don't have food the cure to your hunger isn't to reduce the amount of food on your plate, It is the same with money, when everyone has seen their savings decrease the solution is not to make us even poorer.

Striker 02

When we had the 2008 crisis the government had this song, the same in Britain, the same in every country, saying that we need to make collective efforts to really support the banks; and the people really did, at the time they believed in this pitch.

Ten years after, ten years later, the same song but the people don't want to be fooled again.

Striker 03

After a 55% tax rate, the second highest in Europe, the average public sector worker takes home €2,400 a month.

Government data shows that in the decade between 2011 and 2021, private sector salaries increased twice as fast as salaries in the public sector.

The first major union-led demonstration of the year has a familiar ring to it; austerity cuts on top of painful inflation, which is still running at 3%.

The government insists that austerity will start working, finally, but France's striking workers appear unconvinced.

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