Macron braced for pandemonium as huge strike over vaccine laws to cripple France

Macron 'faces revolt' over vaccine passports says McCrae

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Last month, the French President announced COVID-19 vaccines would be compulsory from September. It would be mandatory for health workers and special passes would be required for anyone wanting to go to a restaurant or on a train or a plane.

The controversial decision has been met with backlash from politicians and members of the public.

Now, the Sud Santé Social union has called for a strike from August 4 in opposition to the “vaccination obligation”.

In a statement, the union said: “The Sud Santé Social union calls for participation in social mobilisations and the defence of freedoms which have nothing to do with the demonstrations initiated by the far-right and the conspiracy theorists, which we are fighting.”

They continued: “The new derogations open a dangerous precedent. They allow the employer the possibility of sanctions (the suspension of contract and remuneration), for a reason which should fall within the medical secrecy and the competence of the occupational medicine.

“If the aim of vaccination is universal protection, the government must facilitate access to it for all, while leaving each person the freedom to choose.”

Jean-Marc Devauchelle, secretary-general of the SUD social health federation, said they are not opposed to vaccinations but it “must remain a free choice”.

He said: “For my part, I decided to get vaccinated last Monday and I actually hesitated for a long time.

“But it is a personal choice, I do not encourage anyone and our federation can’t impose it either.

“We are always reluctant when we have no knowledge of a particular product.

“We know full well that any injection involves a risk and we do not have enough hindsight as we could have in the case of taking Doliprane or other vaccines.

“But we agree with those who protest against the health pass and the vaccination obligation.”

Trade unionists have warned about the consequences of the mandatory vaccines on the morale of nursing staff and the resignations it could cause.

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The bill, passed last week by Parliament, makes the vaccination of staff in hospitals, clinics, nursing homes and retirement homes, firefighters, some soldiers, as well as professionals and volunteers who work with the elderly, compulsory.

The compulsory vaccination will take full effect from September 15.

Exemptions are possible for people who justify a medical contraindication to vaccination, but professionals who refuse vaccination will be banned from practicing, with suspension of their wage.

In July, the Minister of Labour, Élisabeth Borne, said it would be possible to suspend the contract of a person who does not respect the vaccination obligation.

The Constitutional Council will rule on August 5 on the law relating to the management of the health crisis.

Over the weekend, Paris, Marseille and Lyon saw thousands of people gather to oppose the health pass, which the union opposes.

The virus has also killed more than 111,800 in France since the start of the pandemic – raising fears that another uncontained outbreak could overwhelm the country’s health service.

Announcing the compulsory vaccines, Mr Macron said: “We must go towards vaccination of all French people, it is the only way towards a normal life.

“A new race against the clock is on.

“We may need to ask ourselves the question of mandatory vaccination for all.”

Additional reporting by Maria Ortega

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