Responding to a call from the General Confederation of Labor (CGT), a major confederation of French trade unions, tens of thousands of people in over 80 localities came out into the streets on Dec. 5 to demand an end to part-time and temporary jobs and unemployment. The issues of heightened tensions around police violence and a new security law that had brought a massive outpouring of protest on Nov. 28, were also raised.
Because several unions in the CGT have been severely affected by the pro-business COVID-19 policies of the French government, which has given large amounts of aid to big companies while allowing them to lay off workers, COVID-19 was another issue raised.
Other militant French trade union confederations, as well as some student unions, supported the CGT protests. Strong contingents from the “Yellow Vest” movement, which led broad protests against the government a year ago, took part in a number of the protests.
Philippe Martinez, Secretary General of the CGT, told the press at the demonstration in Paris: “There is no opposition between public and individual liberties and the struggle for permanent jobs and against unemployment, especially in this period.”
In its address to the workers of France, the CGT called for them to reject racism, anti-Semitism and other hateful discourses which divide and weaken the working class.