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French Labor Unions Call for New Strikes Ahead of Euro 2016

Striking French CGT labor union garbage collectors and sewer workers block access to a waste treatment plant to protest proposed labor reforms, in Ivry-sur-Seine, near Paris, France, May 31, 2016.

France is bracing for new strikes this week after President Francois Hollande refused to abandon a government labor reform proposal that has sparked months of intensifying strikes and protests throughout the country.

Some French labor unions, including the powerful General Confederation of Labor (CGT), have called for new strikes in the coming days that will target trains, the Paris subway system, ports and possibly airports.

A transport strike just days before the opening of the 2016 European football championships on June 10, which are expected to attract millions of foreign visitors to France, would add to problems caused by last week's blockade of fuel depots.

At least 11 of France’s 58 nuclear power plants were hit with unplanned outages when workers joined the strikes.

A few hundred protesters blocked commercial transportation trucks in a transit area near Marseille for a few hours on Tuesday.

Last week, French Prime Minister Manuel Valls suggested possible “changes” or “improvements” to the bill that would make it easier for employers to hire and fire workers and weaken the power of unions, but insisted the government will not abandon it.

Meanwhile in neighboring Belgium, public sector workers halted public transportation in a work stoppage over budget cuts on Tuesday, increasing pressure on a government already battling prison guard and rail strikes.