Trade unions have strongly rejected the French government’s new amendments to controversial labor reforms, which have sparked months of nationwide violent protests across the European country.
In comments published by Le Parisien newspaper on Thursday, Philippe Martinez, leader of the General Confederation of Labor (CGT) union, which has been organizing demonstrations across France, said the amendments fell short of the union’s demands.
"This will play out in the streets," Martinez warned.
In a joint statement, the CGT and six other unions also accused the beleaguered government of France's embattled President Francois Hollande of neglecting their demands, saying, “The government remains deaf to our proposals."
This comes a day after the French Socialist government offered unions more of a say in determining workers' terms at industry level than currently set out in the bill, while still shifting the emphasis towards companies.
French Prime Minister Manuel Valls has already signaled he is not open to further modifying a text that has already been watered down.
The hotly debated bill was already forced through the lower house of parliament, the National Assembly, by decree through a constitutional clause known as 49:3. It was approved by the Senate on Tuesday. Thousands of protesters took to the streets of France on the same day to protest the reforms.
Meanwhile, Hollande told Les Echos newspaper late on Wednesday that he would do the same again when the legislation returns to the National Assembly for a final reading on July 5, if dissident Socialist lawmakers maintained their opposition.
"Let there be no doubt on this. The law will be voted on and signed off on time. I would like to see majority backing for it. Short of that, it will be a case of recourse again to article 49:3," he said.
On June 23, Hollande pledged that the French government would "go all the way" to enact controversial labor reforms.
"On this draft law, we will go all the way because it is essential not only to allow businesses to be able to hire more" but to step up training that will lead to more jobs, Hollande said, adding, "We will take this bill through to the finish line."
Over the past few months, France has been witnessing violent demonstrations and industrial actions over the changes to the labor law.
The government says the labor reforms are aimed at boosting the country’s economy and curbing the two-digit unemployment rate.
Unions, however, say the government wants to make it easier and less costly for employers to lay off workers, calling the reforms an attack on workers’ rights.