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Last Updated: Tuesday, 20 November 2007, 20:14 GMT
No papers for strike-hit France
By Henri Astier
BBC News

French demonstration by public workers 20-11
Nothing to read but placards
Some of France's strike-hit commuters may have been hoping to find comfort in reading Le Monde or Le Figaro while waiting for that elusive train.

But on Tuesday - the eighth day of mass protests against pension reform - they were frustrated on that point as well.

Stoppages in printing firms and newspaper distributors kept most dailies from newsagents across France.

As a result, several papers made their Tuesday or Wednesday editions freely available online.

The main strikes have been staged by public sector workers angered by pensions reform plans announced by President Nicolas Sarkozy.

But on Monday the main printing union denounced a reorganisation plan in their own industry and decided to join the general protest.

Blow

The union - which in the past has been a bastion of militancy - says the plan will lead to 350 job losses at the main newspaper distributing company and demands immediate talks with managers.

The newspaper employers' union, SPQN, insists it is ready to negotiate and that such a meeting had been planned.

"These arguments are just a pretext to go on strike," SPQN's Jean-Pierre Guerin told the BBC News website.

He says the non-publication of newspapers on Tuesday is another blow to France's ailing press.

"They are losing sales and advertising revenue," Mr Guerin adds.

"And the fact that all the content is available online is terrible for the image of print."



SEE ALSO
French protest enters sixth day
19 Nov 07 |  Europe

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