French workers have come out on the streets again as the virus emergency eases there. On Tuesday 16 June, 18,000 health workers demonstrated in Paris and many thousands in other cities.
They were demanding a pay rise of €300 a month for low-waged health workers, increased staffing, and a moratorium on bed closures. They are calling for action from president Emmanuel Macron on his promise, made during the emergency, of a great renovation of French health care.
Macron has also promised a referendum to amend France’s constitution by inserting a reference to ecological values, but is fending off some more specific demands recently made by an officially-organised “citizens’ convention”, notably for a tax on company dividends to finance green spending.
The second round of the municipal elections, held on 28 June, was the first electoral test in a major country of political shifts from the emergency. Results were ambiguous.
Abstentions were very high, maybe in part because of health fears. Macron and his allies did poorly. The Greens progressed from holding two of the 236 biggest municipalities to holding ten. The Socialist Party more or less held its ground, retaining the mayoralty in Paris.
The French Communist Party and La France Insoumise came out with 18 municipalities (from 25 in 2014). The quasi-fascist Rassemblement National won Perpignan, but generally made little progress. The biggest gains were for the category “miscellaneous right”.