“The best way to protest is to go on strike,” the CGT’s Philippe Martinez told BFM TV Friday. “We must multiply actions at companies. We must strike everywhere.”
The French trade union announced the day of action Tuesday after negotiations with the government over unemployment benefits failed.
"The CGT, like the yellow vests, is fighting for claims on salaries, what (French president Emmanuel) Macron announced is not enough because there isn't any general raise in salaries,” Union representative for health workers Francoise Doriate told Reuters.
“The minimum wage isn't a minimum wage... the increase of an income tax on only a part of pensioners is a scam and there is a freeze on pensions which means we are losing buying power."
On Monday, President Macron announced wage rises for the poorest workers and tax cuts for pensioners in further concessions meant to quell weeks of often violent protests that have challenged his authority. However, the government’s decision has been seen by some as a sham.
"Emmanuel Macron thought he could hand out some cash to calm the citizen's insurrection that has erupted," Jean-Luc Melenchon, leader of the far-left La France Insoumise, said. "I believe that Act V (of the protests) will play out on Saturday," he said referring to a new round of protests planned this weekend.
The move to strike puts pressure on companies as labor unions use their collective power to create disruption just as demonstrators prepare for a fifth-weekend wave of protests across the country since the movement began Nov. 17.
“Of course it is not a question of shouting victory but of amplifying the mobilization: that is why all the general assemblies are maintained!” CGT leadership said in a statement.
The administration of Macron also declared a state of economic and social emergency Monday, and requested the cancellation of the ‘yellow vest’ protests this weekend, citing Tuesdays shooting in Strasburg in which three people were killed and 13 others wounded. Police killed the shooter late on Thursday.
Police have been cracking down on the protests using tear gas and water cannon and many fear that the government is preparing a major repression as the movement announces a fifth round of demonstrations.