(p. A6) “Bosses prefer taking on temporary workers,” says Virginie Bonnin, 40, who works in local auto parts plants. “We are disposable.”
A single mother of three girls, Ms. Bonnin earns €1,900 a month. She learns on Thursday nights what her hours will be for the coming week. When her jobs end, she is sustained by unemployment benefits of about €1,400 a month.
“I’m not the worst off,” she says. “But it’s tricky. In those times, I will not eat meat so that the kids can eat meat.” Her last summer vacation, a sacred French institution, was two years ago.
Ms. Bonnin was provoked into joining the Yellow Vests by the same measure that mobilized much of the country, a tax on gasoline that was to take effect in January.
Mr. Macron promoted it as a means of adapting to climate change. Outside major cities, where people rely on cars to get nearly everywhere, it supplied proof that the president was indifferent to the working class. “Macron is concerned with the end of the world,” one Yellow Vest slogan put it. “We are concerned with the end of the month.”
That accusation endured even after Mr. Macron suspended the gas tax in the face of Yellow Vest furor.
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(Note: the online version of the story has the date April 15, 2019, and has the title “Inequality Fuels Rage of ‘Yellow Vests’ in Equality-Obsessed France.”)