The Latest: France's Macron to push ahead with labor reforms

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The Latest on France's train, plane and labor strikes (all times local):

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3:10 p.m.

French President Emmanuel Macron insists he will push ahead with railway labor reforms and other divisive plans, despite crippling strikes and fears that he is dismantling France's hard-won worker protections.

Macron went on national television TF1 Thursday to defend his efforts to transform the way the French work. The speech came hours ahead of a new round of train worker strikes.

Saying that public anger "doesn't stop me," Macron said he would "go to the end" of the train reforms, meant to prepare the national SNCF railway to open to competition.

Macron's presidency is being challenged on multiple fronts, but he pledged to keep up his pace of change "because the world around is speeding up."


9 a.m.

Train workers, hospitals staff, students, retirees, lawyers and magistrates: they are all protesting the way President Emmanuel Macron's government is changing France.

Macron is appearing on national television Thursday to respond to the daily concerns of the French and defend his economic policies and tax changes, which he says are aimed at modernizing the country.

In what some portray as a fight for the identity of France, Macron wants to reduce the role of the state and inject vitality in the economy by trimming guarantees for workers and increasing competition among companies, among other things. His critics say he is favoring the rich and eroding workers' hard-won labor rights with moves that risk increasing wealth disparity.

Last year, despite protests, the government used a special, accelerated procedure to push a labor bill through parliament that many feel weakened France's famed worker protections.

This spring, the government pushed farther, initiating a series of changes to tax retirees more and employees less, cut jobs in some hospitals, reorganize the justice system and apply a new university admissions system — all prompting protests.