labor protest

Labor Law Reforms



bill (2) frustration demonstrate (2)
voice passenger nationwide
labor majority aggression
layoff legislation circumstance
indirect overrule widespread
protest union (3) representative
reform proposal back down
against force (3) watered-down
radical strike (2) at odds with
traction stranded turn to (3)
threat employer championship
disrupt employee employ (2)
public struggle step back (2)
despite rhetoric necessary
support overtime





Aggression and frustration in the French city of Nantes. Thousands of demonstrators took to the streets, wanting to send a message to their government.

Most of them used peaceful means to make their voices heard. Others turned to violence.

France saw nationwide protests on Thursday. Many were voicing their anger over the so-called “Khomri Law”, a bill named after France’s labor minister.

The legislation would make it easier to lay off employees for economic reasons.

Currently, layoffs are not only difficult for companies, but also expensive.

Under certain circumstances, overtime could become cheaper — an indirect attack on France’s 35-hour workweek.

Finally, a majority of employees in one company would be able to overrule union representatives, taking away some of their power.

The government wanted much more radical reforms, but was forced to back down.

Still, 70% of the French are against even the watered-down proposals.

Thursday’s protests were largely organized by France’s labor unions. Still at odds with the government, after weeks of strikes, unions are looking for traction.

Passengers across the country were left stranded at stations, after half of all trains, nationally, were cancelled.

And now transport unions are now threatening to disrupt the first week of the Euro 2016 Soccer Championships.

Bernard Gargiolo, Public Transportation Union Member: “All the necessary ways to make the government step back will be employed.

In this social struggle, social anger, social war, I would say the public transportation workers of Marseilles will employ all the ways to make the government step back.”

But despite the rhetoric by some unions, there is widespread belief they will not be able to get the popular support they need to disrupt the Euro 2016.

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1. There have been widespread demonstrations in France. True or false? Have they been entirely peaceful? Why have many turned violent?

2. Many people have been protesting. Why have they been demonstrating?

3. What are the main provisions of the bill?

4. Do most citizens support or oppose the proposed law? What kind of people support and what kind of people oppose the proposal?

5. The strikes have disrupted the economy. Is this right or wrong? How has it disrupted business?

6. To the transport employees, which is more important, sports or their working conditions and benefits?

7. Is this a minor or historical even in France?


A. Strikes are common in my city and country. Yes or no? Who goes on strikes? What do people strike about?

B. Are there (many) demonstrations and protests in your city? Why do people protest?

C. Do you agree with the demonstrators or the government in this video? Why do you agree or disagree with them?

D. What is the solution to this situation? What should the strikers and protesters do? What should the government do?

E. What will happen in the future?


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