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Thursday, 20 December, 2001, 14:21 GMT
Euro chaos threatens France
Bank issues euro starter packs
Bank workers have already announced strike plans
The introduction of the euro in France is threatened with chaos as a planned strike by bank workers looks set to spread to post office staff.


I am shocked for the reputation of France abroad because France was one of the pioneers of the single currency

Jacques Delors
Trade unions called for a postal service strike for 2 January - the first working day after the introduction of the European single currency in the new year.

As post offices also provide banking services in France, the distribution of new notes and coins could be severely disrupted.

The workers complain that insufficient security measures are in place for the currency change-over.

National pride

"Even though postal workers will be on the front line of the introduction of the euro, La Poste chooses not to give... its personnel the means to provide its essential services to the population. It's scandalous!" a statement from the CGT union said.

But French Finance Minister Laurent Fabius said workers should feel a sense of duty to ensure the smooth introduction of the euro.
Cafe table with euro starter pack
The strike would affect small businesses
"Even if there may be difficulties.... it is the sense of responsibility that must and will prevail," he said.

Former president of the European Commission, Jacques Delors, said the strike could damage France's standing: "I am shocked for the reputation of France abroad because France was one of the pioneers of the single currency".

The strike could slow the spread of the euro into circulation in France as small businesses will continue to give change in francs as long as they cannot access euros from banks.

Post office managers are expected to enter negotiations with trade unions on Thursday to stave off industrial action.

See also:

14 Dec 01 | Business
Paris rush for euro-starter kits
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