Working hours law triggers strikes

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The Independent Online

On the day a new law reducing working hours came into practice, tens of thousands of people across France went on strike, concerned about the impact of the new law on their wages and working practices.

On the day a new law reducing working hours came into practice, tens of thousands of people across France went on strike, concerned about the impact of the new law on their wages and working practices.

Urban transport systems were crippled by strikes connected to the new law reducing the standard working week from 39 hours to 35. And lorry drivers maintained motorway barricades for a second day.

Postal workers in several cities and hospital workers in Paris held strikes and go-slows. There were demonstrations by civil servants in St Étienne and by civil servants and textile workers in Roanne.

The principal source of conflict is the attempt by employers - including the state in some cases - to use the 35-hour week to break down traditional working patterns and to impose a wage freeze.

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