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French police union threatens to disrupt Olympics relay

The Paris Olympics torch relay is set to begin in Marseille on May 8
The Paris Olympics torch relay is set to begin in Marseille on May 8 - Copyright AFP FREDERICK FLORIN
The Paris Olympics torch relay is set to begin in Marseille on May 8 - Copyright AFP FREDERICK FLORIN

A French police trade union threatened Tuesday to disrupt the Olympics torch relay ahead of the start of the Paris Games this July unless officers were given bonuses.

The Alliance union said that the French prime minister’s office and economy ministry were holding up special Olympics payments promised to police of as much as 1,900 euros ($2,032).

Warning that a first demonstration had been called for Thursday, the union said that other actions could follow and “we do not rule out disturbing the torch relay”.

The threat underlines the challenge for French authorities as they negotiate Olympics bonuses for public sector staff who are being asked to work over the traditional summer holiday period.

The biggest union representing staff in the civil service, the CGT, has issued a strike threat from its members over the duration of the Olympics which begin on July 26.

The torch relay is set to begin in Marseille on May 8.

The country’s militant air traffic controllers have also announced a strike this Thursday, even though they had promised an “Olympic truce” last September. 

Workers at the national mint producing the medals for the competitors have also been on strike, demanding bonuses for what they say is highly demanding work. 

“I hope that we welcome the whole world in the best possible conditions and that we don’t ruin the party,” chief Games organiser Tony Estanguet said in February when asked about the risk of stoppages in the famously strike-prone country. 

The first Olympics in Paris in 100 years are set to take place from July 26-August 11 followed by the Paralympics from August 28-September 8.

AFP
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With 2,400 staff representing 100 different nationalities, AFP covers the world as a leading global news agency. AFP provides fast, comprehensive and verified coverage of the issues affecting our daily lives.

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