France faces day of protests over labour reform, train strike

PARIS: Angry unions and youth are joining forces in a day of protests against French President Francois Hollande's effort to tamper with the country's 35-hour workweek to create new jobs.

Several union and student organisations called protests across France on Wednesday to try to kill the bill which has even divided Hollande's Socialists.

The protests fall on the same day as rail strikes that are delaying some suburban and long-distance trains — but not local transport.

The contested labour reform would put wiggle room into France's sacrosanct 35-hour work week, imposed in 2000 by the Socialists and now a cornerstone of the left. The current Socialist government wants adjustments to reduce France's 10 percent unemployment rate as the shortened workweek was meant to do.