Fighting broke out on Tuesday in France as French unions started a massive strike as the country’s workers ask for higher wages amid increasing inflation and a general higher cost of living across the board.

Over 107,000 people, including over 13,000 in the capital, have heeded the strike calls from the union in massive demonstrations across the country, with the CGT trade union claiming that over 70,000 participated in the massive protests in Paris, according to Reuters.

Because of this, fighting broke out between the protesters and authorities, and over 11 people were arrested. Footage on social media shows police officers charging against protesters as the strikers vandalized store shops.

“The question of wages is the French people's number one priority,” Philippe Martinez, head of the CGT union, said. “It's more than urgent.”

The strike, largely affecting public industries and functions like schools and transportation, is part of a broader effort by French unions across the country to protest the higher cost of living in the country, which has included disrupting the oil and gas refineries in France through walkouts and other such actions, according to Business World.

“At some point it's no longer manageable,” protester Laetitia Berthault said. “I'm a single mother, two children. We tighten our belts ... we have no choice. But it's not easy.”

Because of these disruptions, the government has attempted to push the workers to return to working in the refineries, which have only intensified calls from hardline organizations like the CGT union to call for a broader rise in wages in response to inflation in the country as well as the massive profits that the energy sector has siphoned off Europe due to the Russia-Ukraine war, Al Jazeera reported.

TotalEnergies, a major oil company operating in the country, has already agreed to the CFDT and CFE-CGC unions’ demands of a 7% raise and financial bonus, while CGT is holding out for a 10% increase.

“Huge profits are being claimed off the back of our work, and we are just claiming our fair share of the wealth,” Axel Persson, spokesperson for the CGT rail union, said.

Worker Strike Paris Rep. Pic
A worker strike in Paris found some fighting between police and protesters on Tuesday as workers ask for higher wages in the face of growing inflation and cost of living in the country. This is a representational image. Rafael Kellermann Streit/Unsplash.

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