Turbulence for France’s Macron: hospitals strike, students protest



 French President Emmanuel Macron’s ambitious reform agenda is facing turbulence amid student protests and planned strikes in hospitals and public transport.

Some 70 medical directors in the Paris public health system took to the columns of newspaper Le Monde on Wednesday to warn that France’s public health system was collapsing.

Their intervention came a day before a major strike and protest by health workers, and after months of local strikes in hospital emergency rooms around the country.

The demonstrations were sparked by a case last week where a student in Lyon set himself on fire, reportedly in protest at his own poverty as well as government policies.

Junior education minister Gabriel Attal told the Senate in Paris that student poverty was “a reality that we have chosen to get to grips with over the past two years’’.

Government spokeswoman Sibeth Ndiaye said the health budget was being increased and new structural measures would be unveiled in the coming weeks to bring answers to the crises in the hospitals.

But the senior Paris doctors writing in Le Monde said that the planned 2.3 per cent boost to the 2020 health budget was not enough.

They also called for raises and better living conditions for health workers, especially paramedics and nurses.

Macron is also planning a pension reform that has angered unions and sparked a transport strike called for Dec 5.

Edited by Halima Sheji/Donald Ugwu


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