France proposes €300 bonus to police on duty for Yellow Vest protests

Sebastien Salom-Gomis, AFP | French riot police clash with a protester wearing yellow vest (gilets jaunes) as they protest against rising costs of living they blame on high taxes in Nantes, on December 15, 2018.

(France 24 Online) – Seeking to soothe police forces demanding improved working conditions, the French government on Tuesday proposed giving 300-euro ($340) bonuses to officers deployed to the aggressive and disruptive protests that started last month.

French President Emmanuel Macron committed to the idea of protest duty pay earlier this month. The government’s offer came a day after two police unions announced work slowdowns to protest staffing and other budget issues.

French Interior Minister Christophe Castaner was to meet with police union representatives later Tuesday. It wasn’t clear if the proposed premiums would calm the growing anger in police ranks.

“We are not for sale and we can’t be bought. It’s certainly not with this bonus that the crisis will be resolved,” said Yves Lefebvre, of the Unite-SG Police FO union.

According to government figures, the bonus will be paid to 111,000 police officers and military personal and will cost 33 million euros ($37.5 million.) The National Assembly is expected to debate it during discussions on the 2019 budget.

Instead of a bonus, police unions are asking for the payment of thousands of hours of unpaid overtime work that has accumulated over the years.

The Alliance union urged the government to invest in rebuilding the country’s police forces while calling for a work slowdown Wednesday. Alliance is encouraging police forces to stay inside their stations and only to respond to emergency calls.

The unions also have complained about what they said are strained resources as officers have been sent in to clear road blockades and to control trouble-makers at street demonstrations over the past month.

The yellow vest protests, named after the fluorescent safety vests French motorists must carry, started last month over rising fuel prices. They since have morphed into a mass show of dissatisfaction involving pensioners, people without jobs and small business owners.

The UNSA union threatened to mimic yellow vests protests and to occupy roundabouts if its demands were not met.

-AP

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About Cholo Brooks 13542 Articles
Joel Cholo Brooks is a Liberian journalist who previously worked for several international news outlets including the BBC African Service. He is the CEO of the Global News Network which publishes two local weeklies, The Star and The GNN-Liberia Newspapers. He is a member of the Press Union Of Liberia (PUL) since 1986, and several other international organizations of journalists, and is currently contributing to the South Africa Broadcasting Corporation as Liberia Correspondent.