‘He is a hypocrite!’ France's Macron heckled by pro-Le Pen workers in his hometown (VIDEO)
Wednesday’s collision happened outside the Whirlpool tumble dryer factory that employs some 300 workers in Macron’s home city of Amiens. Le Pen made a surprise visit to the plant as Macron was meeting with union representatives in the Chamber of Commerce.
Hijacking the moment by showing up unannounced, Le Pen vowed to keep the factory open, despite Whirlpool’s decision to outsource the labor to Poland.
“When I heard that Emmanuel Macron was coming here and did not plan to meet the workers, did not plan to come to the picket line but would shelter himself who knows where in the chamber of commerce... I considered it was such a sign of contempt for the Whirlpool workers that I decided to... come here and see you,” Le Pen told the cheering workers, according to DW.
“Everyone knows what side Emmanuel Macron is on – he is on the side of the corporations. I am on the workers’ side, here in the car park, not in restaurants in Amiens,” she said, to the chorus of applause. “He’s (Macron) showing disdain for workers, so I’ve come to see them.”
Arriving later at the factory gates to a crowd of employees who chanted "Marine President,” Macron found himself amid a chaotic scene. The 39-year-old presidential candidate for En Marche! spent over an hour trying to persuade the workers to listen to him, telling them that the only reason that Le Pen paid them a visit was because he was there.
Macron, who is seen to represent big business, attracts the well-educated and well-employed electorate. Just days before the second round of elections on May 7, he is seen as trying to make a last ditch effort to appeal to the working-class voters who are struggling with mass unemployment and tend to lean toward the far-right National Front.
“I am here to speak to you,” Macron tried to tell the crowd as they whistled and booed the former Economy Minister. “Of course there is anger in this country, there is anxiety. Responsibility must be taken, that's why I'm here.”
“When she tells you the solution is to turn back globalization, she’s lying,” Macron told the workers. “We cannot outlaw firing. We must fight to find a buyer.”
Macron also tried to assure the workers that Le Pen's proposals of “stopping globalization and closing borders” are not the solution.
Earlier this year, US multinational giant, Whirlpool announced plans to stop manufacturing dryers in its plant in Amiens on June 1, 2018. The production will be relocated to Poland, as part of restructuring its European operations.
However in practice, workers believe, Whirlpool just wants to save on operational costs as the minimum wage in Poland is 431 euros against the 1,480 euros in France.
“We waited for him to make him understand that we don’t agree with everything he does… We want to make him understand that he is a hypocrite,” Chantalle Flahaut, a Whirlpool factory employee told RT's Ruptly.
“I am sorry but he is a hypocrite. He is a hypocrite. The government has to stop giving money to the rich. It has to stop. The multinationals don’t bring work, they take it away,” he added.
Meanwhile, an RT crew, present at the rally, caught up with En Marche’s spokesperson to ask when RT will be accredited by Macron's team. The day of the first round of elections, RT was denied access into Macron's headquarters, despite earlier being promised accreditation by his team.
“Will you finally accept the accreditation request by RT?,” the RT correspondent asked. Twisting and turning the spokeswoman refused to comment, ditching the question. Seconds later she just walked away.
Following the unpleasant campaign day, Macron took to Twitter accusing Le Pen of running a populist based campaign.
“Marine Le Pen spends ten minutes with party members in front of cameras, while I spend an hour and a quarter working with the unions, with no press. Everyone will make choice on May 7th,” he tweeted.
MLP=10 min avec ses adhérents sur un parking devant caméras ; moi=1h15 de travail avec les syndicats sans presse. Le 7/05, chacun choisira. pic.twitter.com/VgOd3mdltJ— Emmanuel Macron (@EmmanuelMacron) April 26, 2017
“We talked with the unions for more than an hour, while Marine Le Pen has been playing politics by haranguing political activists in a parking lot,” Macron also told Le Parisien newspaper.
Macron won the first round of the presidential race on Sunday by securing 24.1 percent of the votes to Le Pen's 21.3 percent.
As the candidates prepare to influence the electorate ahead of the May 7 second round vote, a survey by Harris Interactive released Wednesday, showed that 61 percent of voters thought Le Pen had started the final stretch of campaigning well. According to Bloomberg, some 52 percent thought Macron had done badly in his second round campaigning thus far.