The end of the protests threatening France Prime Minister, François Hollande’s labour legacy has been marred by a lot of violence. Twenty four French police officers have been injured in the mass protests spreading across the country against the ardently contested labour reform bill.

The government via the labor reform bill wants to loosen a number of rules on hiring and firing in the previous labor law. It will give employers more scope to lay off workers and cut costs. It will also allow some employees to work far longer than 35-hour a week and make it easier to fire workers on economic grounds when companies run into difficulties.

According to the government, the labour law will free up businesses to offer more permanent contracts, ending the current inequality between the lucky few on secure, long-term contracts and the majority of new French private sector jobs that are offered on short-term contracts with little security. The government says the labor law will make France more competitive, and help tackle record unemployment.

The law has angered France’s powerful unions, in part because it would allow companies to reach agreements with their staff over working conditions – including on maximum working hours and overtime pay – without the need to negotiate with the trade groups.

It has also come under sharp criticism for including clauses that would help employers fire workers under simpler conditions, such as falling orders or sales, or operating losses, while capping the total amount of damages claims they may have to pay in case of litigation.

Protesting this, 170,000 workers and students took to streets nationwide on Thursday in a new push for the withdrawal of the proposed labour law. However the protest led to clashes with the police.

In Paris where masked youths threw bottles that left three policemen seriously injured, security forces reacted with tear gas.

Overall 24 police officers were injured. In Nantes, Lyon, Marseille, Clashes between police and protesters also erupted.

Author: Ope Adedeji