French labor minister, union chief meet after street unrest

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The leader of France's left-wing CGT union, the main force of opposition to an unpopular labor reform bill that has led to violence in the streets, says he's asked the labor minister to suspend parliamentary debate on the measure and re-write it.

Two days after an 80,000-strong Paris demonstration that degenerated into the worst violence in years, Philippe Martinez met on Friday with Labor Minister Myriam El Khomri, and said later that two planned marches this month would not be called off, at least for now.

The contested bill would weaken France's strong labor protections, notably allowing individual companies, after negotiations, to set work rules. El Khomri insists the issue remains key to the reform.

Martinez said: "We've always said the bill should be withdrawn to be re-written."