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>> The usual hum of activity reduced to silence. Workers at all eight of France's oil refineries now on strike. But if their banners were a declaration of war, it was their opponents who fired the first shot.>>
> They have causes to defend. That's a fact for sure. But you can't affect users like this.
And I'm saying this serenely and calmly, but with determination, which is why the CGT union will receive an extremely firm answer from the government.>> And this is what he means. Riot police breaking up a strike picket near Marseille with the help of water cannons and tear gas.
Unions are aiming cut output by 50% in their protest over labor reforms. But with reports of one in five petrol stations either rationing fuel or running out completely, public support could dry up, too.>>
It doesn't stop. But that's France. It's a real mess.>> The government hopes the reforms will change that. The precious 35-hour working week stays, but only as an average, with firms given greater powers to hire and fire. Business activity growing at its fastest rate since November suggests they're on the right track.
But workers' rights are fiercely protected in France. With unions planning strikes on railways and the Paris metro system, the battle is only just beginning.