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Last Updated: Thursday, 6 May, 2004, 11:29 GMT 12:29 UK
Moves to stop Cannes film strike
Artistic workers' strike
Strikers are angry at benefit changes
An emergency plan to settle a strike which could disrupt next week's Cannes film festival has been outlined by the French government.

It has pledged 20m euros (13.5m) to a fund to pay unemployment benefits to the country's showbusiness workers.

Artists and technicians have been on strike since last summer in protest at reforms which cut their benefits.

But the CGT arts workers' union warned it might still "damage" the festival which starts on Wednesday.

The Cannes festival attracts the world media spotlight
Previously, France's 100,000 industry employees qualified for year-round unemployment pay-outs if they worked for just three months.

But changes introduced in January reduced the amount of benefits and the period in which they are received - while tightening requirements to qualify for them.

On Wednesday, the government announced details of a fund which would make payouts over a limited period to workers who clocked 507 hours over a 12-month period.

However, Jean-Francois Pujol, deputy secretary general of the CGT's arts branch, rejected the plan as a "provocation".

"One should not be surprised if damage is done at next week's festivals," he said.

A group of workers has planned an "occupation committee" for the 11-day festival.

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