Skip to content
Subscriber Only

French Strikes Joined by EDF as Valls Defends Labor Reform

  • PM Valls Says he’s open to modifications, not to scrapping law
  • Unions split over protest as business warns of slowdown
Riot police stand guard behind a fire as refinery workers hold a blockade of the oil depot of Douchy-Les-Mines to protest against the government's proposed labour reforms, on May 25.

Riot police stand guard behind a fire as refinery workers hold a blockade of the oil depot of Douchy-Les-Mines to protest against the government's proposed labour reforms, on May 25.

Photographer: Francois Lo Presti/AFP via Getty Images
Updated on

Some Electricite de France workers joined strikes at oil refineries, cutting power output, as the government vowed not to back down revising a labor law and businesses warned of economic damage if the protests continued.

“What are the alternatives - a withdrawal of the text? That’s impossible,” Prime Minister Manuel Valls said Thursday on RMC radio. “Modifications” and “improvements” could be considered, though the key article that shifts negotiations from the sector to the company level can’t be changed, he added. Later, he said during debate in the Senate that it’s “unacceptable” for protesters to “block a country and harm the economic interests of France.”