Revolting bosses: 1,000s of French employers take to streets to protest working conditions, taxes

Revolting bosses: 1,000s of French employers take to streets to protest working conditions, taxes
Workers, teachers and doctors are not the only ones protesting in France. Now bosses have flooded the streets, rallying against stifling employee regulations and increasing employment taxes.

The demonstrations, held in Paris, Toulouse and Marseille, gathered at least 10,000 owners of small- and medium-sized businesses, the organizers told French media. Paris police downplayed the protests, however, claiming there were only 2,200 people marching in the streets of the French capital.

French bosses hold signs as they protest on December 1, 2014 in Toulouse against 30 years of government economic policies that have, according to them, stunted economic growth. (AFP Photo / Remy Gabalda)

The bosses say they are protesting government “policies that have suffocated businesses for the last 30 years.”

They are battling on a whole range of issues, including severe working condition, the minimum part-time working week of 24 hours and heavy taxes which they say are driving their companies into the ground.

"Dear ministers: Work 70 hours a week for peanuts – I can provide training for that!" read another.

The crowd in Paris chanted, “We are the economy, we are work!” outside the Finance Ministry.

In Toulouse, protesters held banners that read: "Taxes, levies, charges: enough is enough!" and "Six local firms die every hour!"

"This year, 70,000 businesses went bankrupt. That's 110,000 jobs gone," said Gerard Ramond, head of the regional branch of the CGPME, which represents the bosses of small- and medium-sized enterprises, AFP reported.

The bosses have hit France’s streets for the first time since 2000, when a 35-hour workweek was introduced.

Three employers groups are involved in the protests which are expected to continue for the whole week under the hashtag #liberonslentreprise (free the businesses).

Members of the "Federation Francaise du Batiment" hold signs (L) reading "Let us work, freedom!" as French bosses protest on December 1, 2014 in Toulouse against 30 years of government economic policies that have, according to them, stunted economic growth. (AFP Photo / Remy Gabalda)

“Business leaders are exasperated while their businesses are suffering in a very difficult economic situation,” Jean-Eudes du Mesnil du Buisson, head of the CGPME association of small- and medium-sized businesses, told France 24 TV.

The Movement of the Enterprises of France (Medef), France’s biggest employers’ group, also supports the demonstration.

"This protest must highlight the gravity of the situation," Medef said in a statement. "We need to act and convince people that there are solutions to boosting growth and employment."

The third group involved in the rally is UPA artisans' union, which is planning to publish an open letter to French President François Hollande in around 60 newspapers.

France’s unemployment rate recently hit 5.5 percent. Hollande promised to cut payroll taxes if businesses take on new workers. However, no progress has been made so far.

French business owners hold signs of the "Confederation Generale des Petites et Moyennes Entreprises" (CGPME) as they protest on December 1, 2014 in Toulouse against hefty taxes, charges and stifling regulations they say are driving their firms into the ground. (AFP Photo / Remy Gabalda)

Hollande’s ratings fell to a record low in September, with only 13 percent of French people saying they were satisfied with his performance as president and 86 percent stating that they no longer supported Hollande, according to a poll by the French Institute of Public Opinion.