Mass demonstrations will take place across France on Tuesday as a major union goes on strike in protest of President Emmanuel Macron’s labor reforms.
Macron has taken a lot of heat after introducing a reform package that will soften labor restrictions and take powers away from unions.
The newly-elected president has not backed down despite widespread outcry. He promised to not “yield anything, either to the lazy, the cynics or the extremes” during a visit to Greece over the weekend.
“[France] is not open to reforms,” Macron said, according to The Local. “We rebel, we resist, we circumvent. This is what we are like.”
Philippe Martinez, the secretary general of the CGT labor union, called Macron’s words scandalous. Far-left leader Jean-Luc Melenchon urged the “lazy” to join Tuesday’s protests and show their dissatisfaction with the new president.
Martinez told Le Parisien that 180 demonstrations are planned across the country. Civil servants, rail and transportation workers and students are encouraged to observe the strike.
The French president defended his word choice Monday, saying he used the word “lazy” with the intention of “moving the country forward.”
Macron got off to a hot start by winning a majority in parliament after his landslide victory against Marine Le Pen in the presidential runoff election. His popularity has since tanked after a series of policy moves and budged cuts.
A recent YouGov poll put Macron’s approval rating at 30 percent — down six points during the month of August.
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