Europe

French unions hold last-ditch protest against labor bill

  • People march during a demonstration in Paris, Tuesday, July 5, 2016. French unions are staging what's likely to be their last show of force against a labor bill that has divided the nation and prompted the worst social unrest in years.  The government says the bill — which makes it easier for companies to hire and fire employees and extend working hours — would boost hiring. (AP Photo/Francois Mori)

    People march during a demonstration in Paris, Tuesday, July 5, 2016. French unions are staging what's likely to be their last show of force against a labor bill that has divided the nation and prompted the worst social unrest in years. The government says the bill — which makes it easier for companies to hire and fire employees and extend working hours — would boost hiring. (AP Photo/Francois Mori)  (The Associated Press)

  • Protesters dressed like Tour de France cyclists ride children's bikes with left to right masks of Francois Hollande, French Job Minister Myriam El Khomri, French Prime Minister Manuel Valls, and French Economy Minister Emmanuel Macron, as they demonstrate in Marseille southern France, Tuesday, July 5, 2016. French unions are staging what is likely to be their last show of force against a labor bill that has divided the nation, as the lower house of Parliament takes up the bill for a second time. Placard refers to proposed labor reform law. (AP Photo/Claude Paris)

    Protesters dressed like Tour de France cyclists ride children's bikes with left to right masks of Francois Hollande, French Job Minister Myriam El Khomri, French Prime Minister Manuel Valls, and French Economy Minister Emmanuel Macron, as they demonstrate in Marseille southern France, Tuesday, July 5, 2016. French unions are staging what is likely to be their last show of force against a labor bill that has divided the nation, as the lower house of Parliament takes up the bill for a second time. Placard refers to proposed labor reform law. (AP Photo/Claude Paris)  (The Associated Press)

  • Riot police officers take position by an undertaker service during a demonstration in Paris, Tuesday, July 5, 2016. French unions are staging what's likely to be their last show of force against a labor bill that has divided the nation and prompted the worst social unrest in years.  The government says the bill — which makes it easier for companies to hire and fire employees and extend working hours — would boost hiring. (AP Photo/Francois Mori)

    Riot police officers take position by an undertaker service during a demonstration in Paris, Tuesday, July 5, 2016. French unions are staging what's likely to be their last show of force against a labor bill that has divided the nation and prompted the worst social unrest in years. The government says the bill — which makes it easier for companies to hire and fire employees and extend working hours — would boost hiring. (AP Photo/Francois Mori)  (The Associated Press)

French unions are staging what's likely to be their last show of force against a labor bill that has divided the nation and prompted the worst social unrest in years.

A march through Paris on Tuesday afternoon comes as the lower house of Parliament takes up the bill for a second time.

The government says the bill — which makes it easier for companies to hire and fire employees and extend working hours — would boost hiring. Opponents say it won't work and will cripple hard-won worker protections. They have staged months of protests.

The Socialist government forced the first reading through the National Assembly without a vote. The government may use the same tactic on the second reading, which starts Tuesday, after the Senate rewrote the bill.