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Galled Gallic workers plan to strike Sept. 4

Unemployment decision upsets union

PARIS — Gallic showbiz workers will go on strike Sept. 4 — the eve of the Deauville Film Festival — in their continuing dispute with the government over cuts to unemployment benefits.

France’s largest showbiz union, the CGT-Performing Arts union, has called for a demonstration on the streets of Paris.

The call coincides with a meeting of the National Performing Arts Council, which brings together employers, workers and the government in a bid to smooth out differences over plans to curb benefits to out-of-work “intermittents,” nonsalaried showbiz professionals.

The government decision to up the work time needed to collect unemployment benefits has sparked unprecedented wrath, with protesting “intermittents” shutting down many summer festivals, including the Avignon theater fest for the first time in its 56-year history.

However, the latest protest is not expected to disrupt last-minute preparations for Deauville, on the Normandy coast. “We certainly hope not,” answered a Deauville representative, adding that the fest does not use temps.

But that’s not to say auds won’t get a taste of the action. Wherever summer fests have been allowed to proceed, angry showbiz workers have made a ritual of taking to the stage before performances to state their case.