PARIS (Reuters) - The French government on Friday held its first meeting in three months with a union staging protests against plans to reform the labor law but neither side suggested a breakthrough.
CGT union chief Philippe Martinez said the talks did nothing to alter plans for street demonstrations next Thursday that the government says could be banned.
“The CGT and the government disagree on fundamental issues. Today, we confirmed those disagreements,” Martinez said after a 90-minute meeting with Labour Minister Myriam El Khomri.
He said the bill containing the contested changes to labor regulations should be suspended and talks opened on CGT proposals for a rewrite of key elements.
“The ball is in the government’s court,” Martinez said.
The minister called the meeting constructive but said the Socialist government was determined to press on with a reform that would see work conditions set more extensively at company level. The government says the reforms are necessary to help curb high unemployment.
She said she was happy to have renewed contact but told reporters: “We did not reach a consensus. There are disagreements and they are not new.”
Tension between the government and the CGT, one of France’s two largest unions, rose sharply after an escalation in violence during a street march in Paris this week.
Prime Minister Manuel Valls accused the CGT of turning a blind eye to gangs of masked youths who engaged in running battles with police, ransacked shops, daubed slogans on buildings and smashed the windows of a children’s hospital.
President Francois Hollande has threatened to ban marches for security reasons in a country where emergency rule applies after Islamist attackers killed 130 people last November. France is also hosting the Euro 2016 soccer tournament.
Writing by Brian Love; Editing by Janet Lawrence