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Home News French hospital staff strikein protest at deficit reforms

French hospital staff strikein protest at deficit reforms

Published on 11/03/2004

PARIS, March 11 (AFP) - Hospital workers went on strike in France on Thursday as the centre-right government faced a wave of social protest just over a week before regional elections widely seen as an important mid-term test.

Around 2,000 doctors, nurses and medical staff demonstrated through central Paris to protest against a government reform plan designed to rescue the health system from a massive budget deficit. Smaller marches took place in cities around the country.

According to the Paris health authority, around 10 percent of workers in the capital observed a strike call.

Public sector scientists, teachers and performing artists are all expressing grievances against the government in the run-up to the March 21 and March 28 elections – traditionally a period of protest action in France.

On Tuesday hundreds of laboratory chiefs resigned from their administrative functions to draw attention to a growing brain drain; teachers are demanding extra resources; and performing artists want the government to withdraw a reform of their unemployment benefit scheme.

Teachers plan to strike Friday in the first national action since a wave of protests in the education sector a year ago.

© AFP

                                                              Subject: France news