Thousands of people in some 170 French towns and cities took to streets on Thursday to denounce a controversial labor reform promoted by French President Emmanuel Macron as a way to reduce unemployment as part of his pro-business agenda. The law, bound to take effect by January 2018, gives more leverage to businesses.

It makes it easier for them to negotiate terms of employment, hire and fire staff as well as caps dismissal pay-outs and generally curbs the role of trade unions in small companies. Several major French labor unions called for a public transportation strike ahead of the protest, which led to minor traffic disruptions on Thursday. It was the fourth time the French have held demonstrations against the labor code overhaul since it was signed into law by Macron.

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