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13 Dec, 2018 13:01

‘Minimum wage is nuts if you work 70 hours a week’: French farmers’ union blasts Macron’s promises

The French President tried to quell Yellow Vest protests by vowing to increase the minimum wage and cut some taxes, but it means nothing to farmers working long hours and living on slim budgets, their union head told RT France.

President Emmanuel Macron sought to appease Yellow Vest demonstrators, offering them concessions after weeks of massive protests. A monthly minimum wage hike by €100 ($113) and tax decreases for the poor among them.

But Veronique le Floch, Secretary General of ‘Coordination rurale’ (Rural Coordination), a labor union of French farmers, told RT France Macron had only embraced wage earners but failed to deliver a similar promise to those employed in agriculture.

Also on rt.com French opposition rejects Macron’s concessions to Yellow Vests, some demand ‘citizen revolution’

“We have nothing to do with minimal wage as we don’t talk working overtime because it’s all unclear when you work 70 hours a week,” le Floch railed at Macron for neglecting “the plight of agriculture” and not considering the real income of people residing in rural areas.

“He forgot [to say] that every second farmer lives on less than 365 euros ($415) a month, that a farmer’s pension is under the social benefits standards,” the union head stated.

According to le Floch, farmers spend as much as half of their income on various taxes, including the tax on compulsory social insurance, the land tax and the income tax. “Even if you make no income, you still have to pay those taxes,” she explained.

Macron’s measures met an equally cold response from the French opposition and the general public.

READ MORE: Yellow Vests leader: Fuel tax moratorium is crumbs, we want the baguette

The Yellow Vest rallies against the new taxes, which were expected to lead to fuel price hikes, snowballed into a nationwide protest campaign in a matter of weeks. Major clashes between police and protesters also took place, reaching levels of violence unseen in France for decades.

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