PARIS — France is living through a severe social crisis unlikely to end soon. No doubt the most serious such crisis since the movement against the reforms of then Prime Minister Alain Juppé in 1995, what is at stake today is a labor law reformincluded in the so-called “El-Khomri” law, named for Labor Minister Myriam El Khomri.
The movement has received vocal support from the radical Left and, more surprisingly, certain factions of François Hollande’s Socialist Party. The political climate has polarized in a worrying way as a result.
Prime Minister Manuel Valls has unleashed his own agenda against the unions that support the movement and one of the country’s largest national trade unions, the Confédération Générale du Travail. The press has followed his lead. But it’s all too easy to forget the CGT is only one of many actors. The third-largest labor union, Force Ouvrière, the far-left anti-capitalist union Solidaires Unitaires Démocratiques and sector-specific unions all play a large role. The movement has given voice to a wide range of category interests.