‘Yellow vest’ protests: French President announces sops

‘Yellow vest’ protests: French President announces sops

Agency News

Paris, Dec 11 : Facing a political career in jeopardy, French President Emmanuel Macron announced a raise in the country's minimum wage and tax relief measures during an address to the nation Monday following a fourth weekend of increasing violence by "yellow jacket" protesters.

The embattled French leader appeared on French television on Monday to deliver a 13-minute, prerecorded speech announcing the new policies, The Guardian reported.

We will respond to the economic and social urgency with strong measures, by cutting taxes more rapidly, by keeping our spending under control, but not with U-turns,” Macron said.

The French President admitted that he had not been able to provide solutions quickly enough since his election. “I may have given you the impression that this was not my concern, that I had other priorities. I take my share of responsibility. I know I have hurt some of you with my words,” he said.

To help struggling workers, he said the government had been ordered to introduce “concrete measures” from 1 January, including increasing the minimum wage by €100 (£90) a month. Overtime would be exempt from tax and social charges, and a planned tax on pensions under €2,000 a month would be cancelled. All employers “who can” were asked to give workers a tax-free bonus at the end of the year.

The protests began around November 17 and were initially in response to Macron’s announcement of a new gas tax. But the demonstrations have since morphed into a broader indictment of Macron’s handling of the French economy and his perceived elitist disregard for France’s working and middle classes.

Some 10,000 protesters had taken to Paris’ streets, where about 8,000 police were deployed.

Security forces launched a massive operation in a bid to minimise the unrest, detaining more than 1,000 people and mobilising armoured cars in Paris for the first time.(UNI)