Facebook Instagram Twitter YouTube

Hundreds of Thousands Join General Strike Against Macron’s Labor Reform

The French working class organizes the first general strike against President Macron.

Amelia Robles

September 14, 2017
Facebook Twitter Share

Over 400,000 workers took part in the general strike on Tuesday, with over 180 mobilizations throughout the country, including large concentrations in Marseille and the major cities, to march against President Emmanuel Macron’s unpopular labor reforms unveiled at the end of August.

The day of protests criticized labor market flexibility, one of the primary reforms promoted by Macron. The strike caused flight delays and cancellations from many “low cost” airline companies, whose employees were on strike; Ryanair in particular, but also Easyjet, Vueling, and Volotea, canceled a dozen flights.

Railroads were impacted, with cancellations predominantly along regional lines and nearby Paris. The strike disrupted metropolitan transportation systems in several cities as well.

In addition to the stoppages in transport, the ports of Le Havre, which were transformed into a symbol of struggle during the protests in 2016 against the reforms of François Hollande, were also part of the strike. In Le Havre, some 10,000 protesters headed by the dockworkers were mobilized.

Chemical, postal, and telecommunications workers were also among the unions that turned up at the strike, including the Confederation Union of the Retirees of the CGT (General Confederation of Labour).

In Lyon, the police launched tear gas and repressed protesters who concentrated against the labor reforms.

In spite of Macron’s obvious attacks on labor rights, other large unions such as the CFGT, and the Force Ouvrière (FO), were not brought into the strike, which was launched by the CGT. The rank-and-file base of these other unions, however, participated despite their union leadership’s reluctance to endorse. For example, more than 50 local sections of the FO syndicate, including railway workers, chemical workers, transport and energy workers, among others, turned up at the strike, revealing that the spirit of the struggle of 2016 persists. In Rennes alone, there were more than 24 mobilizations.

This general strike occurred in tandem with a dramatic decline in Macron’s popularity, which dropped 60 percent in the last three months–a decline from which he still has not recovered. The massive turnout for the general strike and the public’s disapproval of Macron has increased the tension and narrowed the margins of action of the government, which should be prepared for a new round. Meanwhile, a new strike has been called by the CGT for September 21, the eve of the proceedings of the reform.

Facebook Twitter Share


A group of protesters, in the front of whom are a line of protesters wearing red vests. In the front right corner, a white sign reds "vive la retraite," with a skeleton wearing a red hat in the middle of the sign on a black background with a text bubble on its left that reads, "oiv a bosse, c'est pas pour en crever!"

“French March”: The Right to Revolutionary Optimism

Evoking memories of '68, the students enter the fight against Macron. In our chaotic world, the future can only be built in the streets.

Eduardo Castillo

March 26, 2023

On Monday, Germany Will Experience a “Mega-Strike”

On March 27, German railway workers and public sector employees will shut down the whole country. All trains are being canceled. Airports, freeways, hospitals, and daycare centers will all be affected.

Nathaniel Flakin

March 25, 2023

France: On the Frontlines of the War Against Austerity

The French masses have raised the banner of class struggle in what is becoming the first major battle against austerity after the pandemic. Working people across the world should pay attention.

James Dennis Hoff

March 25, 2023

Despite Threats of Arrest, Refinery Workers in France Refuse to Break Strike

As energy strikes continue, France is faced with a kerosene shortage that’s creating an urgent situation at the country’s airports. With capitalist profits on the line, the government has attempted to force Normandy refinery workers back to work through an anti-strike legal weapon called requisitions. In their first victory, refinery workers forced the police to withdraw in an incredible demonstration of solidarity.

Nathan Erderof

March 24, 2023


Joe Biden Is Deporting Russians Who Escaped Putin’s Draft — Let Them All In!

The United States is deporting Russians who sought asylum following the Russian invasion of Ukraine. This is a heinous attack against war resisters and shows that the proxy war in Ukraine is about capitalist rivalry first and foremost.

Sam Carliner

March 26, 2023

“We Need Action Committees Everywhere”: Building the General Strike in France

Workers across France are organizing action committees to build a general strike to take down the Macron government and the Fifth Republic.

Arthur Nicola

March 24, 2023

What’s Behind Xi Jinping’s Visit to Moscow?

Chinese president Xi Jinping has visited Moscow for the first time since the beginning of the Ukraine war, in an effort to strengthen trade relations between the two countries.

Madeleine Freeman

March 23, 2023
Protesters gather during a demonstration on Place de la Concorde in Paris on March 17, 2023, the day after the French government pushed a pensions reform using the article 49.3 of the constitution. - French President's government on March 17, 2023 faced no-confidence motions in parliament and intensified protests after imposing a contentious pension reform without a vote in the lower house. Across France, fresh protests erupted in the latest show of popular opposition to the bill since mid-January.

Battle of the Pensions: Toward a Pre-Revolutionary Moment in France

President Macron's use of article 49.3 to push through an unpopular pension reform bill has opened up an enormous political crisis that has changed the character of the mobilizations against the French government. We are entering a "pre-revolutionary moment" that can change the balance of power between the classes in France.

Juan Chingo

March 21, 2023