Europe

French roads blocked over labor law; president stands firm

  • Truck drivers block the road near Fos-sur-Mer, southern France, Tuesday, May 17, 2016. Truckers are blocking highways around France to protest longer working hours in a new labor bill, but President Francois Hollande says he won't abandon the contested reform. (AP Photo/Claude Paris)

    Truck drivers block the road near Fos-sur-Mer, southern France, Tuesday, May 17, 2016. Truckers are blocking highways around France to protest longer working hours in a new labor bill, but President Francois Hollande says he won't abandon the contested reform. (AP Photo/Claude Paris)  (The Associated Press)

  • France's President Francois Hollande prepares to speak on France's Europe1 radio station, Tuesday, May 17, 2016 in Paris.  Hollande has promised he will lower taxes next year provided the state has sufficient leeway. (Miguel Medina, Pool via AP)

    France's President Francois Hollande prepares to speak on France's Europe1 radio station, Tuesday, May 17, 2016 in Paris. Hollande has promised he will lower taxes next year provided the state has sufficient leeway. (Miguel Medina, Pool via AP)  (The Associated Press)

  • France's President Francois Hollande, left, speaks on France's Europe1 radio station, Tuesday, May 17, 2016 in Paris.  Hollande has promised he will lower taxes next year provided the state has sufficient leeway. (Miguel Medina, Pool via AP)

    France's President Francois Hollande, left, speaks on France's Europe1 radio station, Tuesday, May 17, 2016 in Paris. Hollande has promised he will lower taxes next year provided the state has sufficient leeway. (Miguel Medina, Pool via AP)  (The Associated Press)

Truckers are blocking highways around France to protest longer working hours in a new labor bill, but President Francois Hollande says he won't abandon the contested reform.

France is facing a week of new strikes and other union action against the bill, which has met fierce resistance in Parliament and in the streets.

Truck drivers joined in the protests Tuesday, blocking roads around Marseille and the western cities of Nantes and Le Mans. They fear a drop in income because the bill cuts overtime pay.

Marseille union leader Laurent Casanova said the goal "is to paralyze traffic ... and block the economy."

Hollande, speaking Tuesday on Europe-1 radio, said "I will not back down" on the bill. He argues that the law is necessary to boost hiring and investment.