Record inflation is wreaking havoc around the world.

In light of a looming rough winter for residents of Europe, protests in France are growing with demands for better pay. 

Initially documented by The Washington Post, Travel Noire is sharing details about what exactly is causing the unrest and what to know.

police in France in riot gear during protests
Photo Credit: EV

Weeks In the Making

Strikes in France started weeks ago when refinery workers went on strike to demand higher salaries. The argument for the increase stems partly from the profits oil and gas companies are seeing as a result of soaring energy prices in Europe. The trend is a result of Russia’s war in Ukraine.

Fuel shortages and long lines at stations around France followed in the wake of the now-extended strikes. By this past weekend, one-third of the country’s gas stations were out of some type of fuel.

The strikes are revealing broader frustrations about mounting household expenses and general concerns surrounding affordability for citizens. 

Following the walkout of refinery and oil depot workers and a nationwide day strike including railway workers and high school students, causing some transit disruptions, a large march was held in Paris on Sunday.

The CGT, one of the country’s largest unions, is helping lead the strikes and has reported more than 180 protests around the country as of Tuesday, with 70,000 people in Paris alone.

The Interior Ministry, however, is reporting significantly lower protest estimates. About 107,000 demonstrators are active across the country, including 13,000 in Paris, according to the department.

Is This All Stemming From Inflation?

Feeling the effects of the rising cost of living, purchasing power is a primary concern for the people of France. In a survey published earlier this month, the issue is noted as an area of concern three times more than immigration and crime.

While the government has spent billions to subsidize the impact of Europe’s energy and fuel crisis, other areas of life such as grocery store essentials are still a problem for many.

The Washington Post notes that France’s approach to curbing inflation is bolder than many countries. However, growing tensions are showing an increasing worry that it might not be enough. The French government is giving vulnerable households a short-term relief payment of up to $195; which critics say will not offset the levels of inflation in low-income communities.

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