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Emmanuel Macron is on the brink, after furious protesters called for a national strike that would torpedo France’s already devastated economy. The latest predictions showed the French economy would shrink about 10 percent this year alone, according to budget minister Olivier Dussopt. President Macron is also struggling to control a huge resurgence in coronavirus cases, as France mulls a potential second national lockdown
The “national days of action” called by the General Confederation of Labour (CGT) and other trade unions followed another factory closure in the country.
Japanese tyremaker Bridgestone announced this week that it would close its plant in Béthune in northern France with the loss of 863 jobs.
There have already been thousands of job cuts across the country from French companies including Airbus, Renault and Sanofi due to economic fallout from the pandemic.
In response, around 40,000 workers in France took to the streets on Thursay and Friday for industrial action and protest against the cuts and low wages.
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Masked protesters demonstrated in Marseille, Toulouse, Bordeaux, Lyon and Saint Etienne with protests expected to continue through the weekend.
The trade unions have called on students, bus and train drivers and healthcare workers to join the protests.
Bruno Le Maire, Mr Macron’s finance minister, called the Bridgestone decision “revolting”.
Xavier Bertrand, a centre-right politician, said the closure of the plant was “a premeditated assassination”.
However, leader of the CGT Philippe Martinez said workers were turning their anger against Emmanuel Macron, as they demanded pay rises and an end to Mr Macron’s controversial pension plan.
Union representative Olivier Mateu said: “Our social model is clearly in danger.”
The national strike threat comes after the Yellow Vest protest movement returned last weekend, leading to violent clashes with police on the streets of Paris.
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France’s statistics institute has confirmed that the national unemployment rate will likely climb to 9.5 percent by the end of the year.
France is battling a dramatic resurgence in coronavirus, as the country counted upwards of 13,000 new cases Friday, an all-time daily high.
This is higher than France’s mid-April peak of about 8,400 daily new cases, according to Johns Hopkins University data.
Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove, from the World Health Organization, has said that Europe is suffering from a second coronavirus wave.
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