• Valls hurt by hardening of labor conflict, BVA pollster says
  • President Hollande’s approval remains at record low of 19%

The popularity of French Prime Minister Manuel Valls fell to its lowest level as he faced off against unions that have gone on strike to block a labor law he’s championed.

Valls’ approval rating slid six points in May to 24 percent, its lowest since he became prime minister just over two years ago, according to the latest monthly poll by BVA Opinion for i-Tele television.

“Manuel Valls is being battered by a hardening of the labor standoffs,” Christelle Craplet, a BVA analyst, said in a note accompanying the results. “Valls has above all lost support among the non-Socialist left.”

French gas stations have run low on fuel while train and plane travel has been disrupted as some unions have tried to force Valls’ government to withdraw a law that gives companies more power to negotiate less rigid work contracts.

The approval rating of President Francois Hollande was unchanged at a low of 19 percent, the poll showed.

Economy Minister Emmanuel Macron saw his approval rating fall 3 points to 45 percent, but remained by far the most popular member of the government, according to the poll of 1,348 people on May 23 and 24.

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