ROUNDUP Unfriendly labor reforms targets of anger on May 1


BEIJING: On this year’s Labor Day multiple protests across the world against unfriendly labor reforms have been scheduled at a time of economic difficulties.

In France, workers’ unions and student organizations have planned further protests on Sunday to mark the May Day labor holiday following a violent demonstration on Thursday to block a labor reform.

Police arrested 27 people, placing 24 of them in custody, after hooded youth refused to leave the Republic Square in Paris and threw projectiles at police officers.

In the early hours of Friday morning, people set two cars on fire and destroyed shopfronts, to which police responded with tear gas.

The clashes marked the latest flare-up on the sidelines of the largely peaceful “Up All Night” gathering that began on March 31 as a protest against the proposed labor code reform and have since grown to encompass a range of grievances.

In South Korea, tens of thousands of unionized workers will hold rallies across the country against labor reform plans that will make it easier to lay off employees.

On Sunday, 50,000 members of the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions (KCTU) will stage protests in 15 cities to urge the government to nullify the agreement made in September between management and labor representatives, according to a report by the Yonhap News Agency.

The rallies will likely paralyze traffic in Seoul and other major cities, said the report. Some 1,000 officers will be mobilized to handle foreseeable traffic congestion.

A public sector reform plan which could lead to layoffs and an increase in the retirement age also brought about 1,000 workers to the streets in central Kiev Thursday.

“There are young people who now work for a small salary, hoping that they will retire at the age of 45 to 55 years, depending on the profession, but it would not happen if the labor code is approved,” said Mykhailo Volynets, head of the Confederation of Free Trade Unions.

The protest, organized by the Confederation, was joined by workers from such sectors as transport, mining, medicine and education, as well as students.

According to its organizers, the demonstration was dedicated to the World Day for Safety and Health at Work, observed internationally on April 28, and the International Labor Day which is celebrated on May 1.

Turkey is on particularly high alert for Labor Day, an occasion traditionally marked by rising tensions in the country, following a series of deadly attacks this year blamed on jihadists and Kurdish militants.

A total of 24,500 members of the Turkish security forces would be on duty in Istanbul to ensure the security of citizens on the day, the government said in a statement Saturday.

On May 1, 2015 police used water cannons and tear gas to disperse May Day protesters in Istanbul as demonstrations turned violent. PNA/Xinhua



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