• 21:17
  • 16.10.2021
Macron nightmare: President’s popularity to fall further as France fights labour reforms

Macron nightmare: President’s popularity to fall further as France fights labour reforms

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His plans for far-reaching labour reforms, set to be unveiled today, will be met by nationwide protests led by trade unions and left-wingers throughout September as France takes to the streets to show their anger towards changes to their beloved workers’ rights.

The protests are set to be the biggest test yet to the French president’s authority despite the fact that the details of the reforms have not yet been revealed. 

France’s hardline CGT union and leftwing leader Jean-Luc Mélenchon are among those calling for French citizens to take to the streets to rally against Mr Macron’s changes.
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The reforms are set to deliver “the most profound overhaul” of France’s 3,492-page labour code “since World War II”.

The news comes after a French newspaper poll revealed more than half of French voters are now dissatisfied with Emmanuel Macron’s performance as president in a dramatic nosedive in support for a leader who basked in a landslide election victory just four months ago.

The poll, conducted by Ifop for newspaper Le Journal du Dimanche, shows the French president’s ‘dissatisfaction rating’ has risen to 57 per cent, up 14 per cent compared with last month.
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In fact, Mr Macron’s popularity after four months in office is lower than any French president over the same time period since 1995.

French government spokesman Christoph Castaner admitted the government is going through a difficult period as Mr Macron tries to push through a series of reforms in quick succession.

Castaner told BFM TV: "Yes, we are encountering difficulties, but you cannot just spend your time only looking at polls when you're in government. 
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“We are there to transform the country. Our country needs us to take risks, and we are taking risks.

“After the final round of the presidential election, Emmanuel Macron told me ‘We have won the right to take risks’.”

He added: “Do you think he is the type of person to change his approach based on polling? I don’t think so.”
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The labour code changes, set to be revealed by prime minister Edouard Philippe later today, do not require approval by parliament but will have to be signed off on by France’s Constitutional Court.

Mr Macron has spoken about his proposed changes during his trip to across Europe last week, when he met his Central European counterparts in a bid to rally support for reforms to the European Union’s cheap labour legislation.

Speaking in Romania last week, the French president said his country was “unreformable” and that the people “hated reform” - which doesn’t bode well for any hopes of success in pushing through changes to France’s labour code.
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Starting from today, Mr Macron’s government has one month during which it can revise its executive decrees before they are sent to the Constitutional Court for final approval, and the intensity of the planned protests may determine just how much the President is prepared to alter his reforms.

However, those fighting Mr Macron’s reforms are divided, which could prove damaging to hopes of fighting the reforms.

Mr Mélenchon, the head of the hard-left France Unbowed political party and a member of parliament, urged people during a rally in the southern port town of Marseille to “descend on Paris” on September 23 to protest against the labour reforms he said amounted to a “social coup d’état”.
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The left-winger said: “The French must take to the streets of Paris en masse to protest against the government’s undemocratic labour reforms, against what is essentially a social coup d’état.” 

Meanwhile, the CGT trade union will demonstrate eleven days earlier and France’s other unions, which have millions of members, remain undecided about whether they will join the protests.
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