INTRODUCTION: An estimated 15,000 France steelworkers marched on the National Assembly in Paris on Tuesday (19 April) to protest against recent and threatened dismissals in their depressed industry.
SV Steel-work demonstrators marching in Paris, France, carrying banners and chanting
LV AND SV EXTERIOR National Assembly building and demonstrators across road (2 shots)
CU Demonstrators chanting
LV AND TOP VIEW Singing demonstrators passing in front of police (2 shots)
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Background: INTRODUCTION: An estimated 15,000 France steelworkers marched on the National Assembly in Paris on Tuesday (19 April) to protest against recent and threatened dismissals in their depressed industry. Leading the marchers were many of the 3,000 men that were recently sacked by France's largest private steelmakers, the Usinor group. The demonstration came as French Prime Minister Raymond Barre announced in parliament a one-and-a-half-million-pound(sterling) (2,565,000 (U.S) dollars) rescue plane for the industry.
SYNOPSIS: The demonstration began amiably, many protesters having picnicked before taking up banners and placards and moving off. The sacked Usinor men were especially aggrieved because the company management had announced the dismissals before the government could confer with it. All political parties condemned the decision, which the government called on the company to postpone. The 3,000 would lose their jobs through the closing down of a key plant in the Lorraine town of Thionville. Another 12,000 steel-working jobs throughout France are also said to be threatened.
Riot police cordoned off the National Assembly against the demonstrators, who were obeying a union call for a one-day strike. As well as asking Usinor to halt their moves, the government has been conferring with Renault to set up a car assembly plant in the Thionville area. But political observers said none of these moves would placate political parties of the left who contend the French steel industry has been badly managed for several years.
It takes the French eleven hours to make a ton of steel, compared with seven hours in West Germany.
Premier Barre's rescue plan, to be spread over several years, essentially would request the steel companies to invest in modernisation, and give the state a share a share of any profits.