PARIS (AP) — French truck drivers staged road blockages near fuel depots across the country Monday to protest against President Emmanuel Macron’s changes to labor laws.
Two major unions, CGT and FO, called a nationwide protest action because they fear the new rules Macron formally signed last week will lead to a deterioration in working conditions and ease the firing of workers.
Fuel storage facilities in southwestern France, in Normandy, near the southern city of Marseille and in the Paris region were blocked for several hours Monday, but police soon intervened and allowed access in many places.
Government spokesman Christophe Castaner called on French drivers not to rush to gas stations to avoid fuel shortages.
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Protesters also organized an operation to slow down traffic on a major highway in northern France close to the Belgian border.
The transport ministry said in a statement the situation was back to “normal” Monday at noon.
“There’s free access to almost all fuel depots”, the ministry said in a statement. “As a consequence, gas stations are being supplied normally.”
Macron says the labor law changes are essential to reviving the French and European economies.
The measures aim to make it easier for firms to hire and fire, simplify negotiations between employers and employees, and reduce the power of national collective bargaining.
They are to be ratified by parliament and fully implemented by the end of the year.