A hundred Northern African immigrant workers are on hunger strike in the offices of the Arab League in Paris.
A hundred Northern African immigrant workers are on hunger strike in the offices of the Arab League in Paris. They are demanding work permits and other documentation to allow them to stay and work in France.
The demonstrators -- from Algeria, Tunisia and Morocco -- had come mostly from southern French towns, mainly from Montpelier and Nimes. They also represent workers throughout the Gard and Herault regions and Paris itself.
The workers' spokesman told newsmen that the hunger strike had begun on Tuesday morning (March 4) and that it was the culmination of several months of campaigning for their rights to work in France. He said there had been a dozen hunger strikes so far in the campaign -- four of them in Avignon, Montpelier and Paris. He also alleged police brutality in breaking up these earlier demonstrations ... even in the mosque at Montpelier.
Representations to the state immigration office and to President Valery Giscard d'Estaing have produced an offer from the Government to legalise the position of any worker who can produce a year's work contract from an employer. But the demonstrators say this is unsatisfactory, and are continuing their hunger strike.
They complain about having to pay 1,500 francs (about GBP150 sterling, US $360) on the black market for permits; about employers workforce after three weeks; and about farmers in Herault region who employ illegal immigrants at between 2 and 4 francs an hour (20 pence to 40 pence sterling).