MS Risk Blog

French Unions Plan to Disrupt Upcoming Euro 2016 Football Matches

Posted on in 2016 UEFA Euro Cup - Security Update title_rule

As protests continue across France over labour law changes, a hardline French union has announced that it is planning to disrupt public transport and emergency services around the upcoming Euro Cup football matches.

According to Patrice Clos, who runs Force Ouvrier’s transport division, “we have decided that each match day in the towns concerned the federation would call strikes,” adding, “it was decided that as this law touches on the economy of the workers, that we would hit the economy of the Euros…until it is withdrawn.” The sectors affected during the football tournament, which begins on 10 June and which will run for a month, will include heavy goods traffic, public transportation, ambulances and bin collectors. Unions have also called for a day of industrial action on 10 June if President Francois Hollande does not return to the negotiating table.

The latest threat comes as France’s civil aviation body has asked airlines to fuel up abroad despite riot police clearing all but one of the country’s fuel depot blockades.

The union revealed its plan in late May, at the end of a week when nationwide protests against labour law reforms brought parts of France to a standstill. Despite the ongoing protests, President Hollande has vowed to press on with the legislation, with both the government and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) claiming that it is necessary in order to create jobs. Speaking at the G7 Summit in Japan in May, President Hollande stated that “I will keep going because I think these are good reforms,” adding, “our primary duty…is to do everything to maintain the supply of fuel to the public and to continue to provide essential public services.” Unions however say that “the ball is in the government’s court” and insist that the strikes could end as soon as the government backs down.

Protests have turned ugly over this past month. On 27 May, masked demonstrators in Paris threw missiles at police, who fired tear gas in return. As many as 12,000 petrol stations across the country were reported to be either closed or running low on fuel on the day of the clashes. Meanwhile tourists travelling by car to France have been warned to fill up their tanks

The laws being forced through parliament would make it easier for companies to hire and fire workers.

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