Parliament adopt bill on transport strikes

3rd August 2007, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Aug 3, 2007 (AFP) - The French parliament on Thursday adopted a government-backed law to limit the fall-out of public sector transport strikes, which have brought much of the country to a standstill in the past.

PARIS, Aug 3, 2007 (AFP) - The French parliament on Thursday adopted a government-backed law to limit the fall-out of public sector transport strikes, which have brought much of the country to a standstill in the past.

One of the campaign promises of President Nicolas Sarkozy -- and backed by 70 percent of the public -- the bill was opposed by trade unions and the political left on the ground that it breaks the constitutional right to strike.

It was adopted in the National Assembly and upper house Senate with the votes of Sarkozy's right-wing UMP party and its ally the New Centre, which have a majority in both chambers. Left-wing opposition parties voted against.

The most contested clause is one that obliges workers to declare 48 hours before a stoppage if they intend to take part. Another clause requires a secret ballot of workers after eight days on whether to continue a strike.

Unions called demonstrations across the country this week against the text, and have promised more action after the summer, possibly during the Rugby World Cup which runs from September 8 to October 20.

The Socialist Party has said it would seek to have the law, which is due to come into force on January 1, 2008, repealed by France's Constitutional Council.

Sarkozy's UMP welcomed the bill's adoption: "As Nicolas Sarkozy promised during the presidential campaign, the French people will be able to travel freely to work and back, including during labour conflicts that have nothing to do with them," it said in a statement.

"The French will no longer be held hostage to an archaic practice pitting the right to strike against public service provision."

AFP

Subject: French news

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