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The French government fought back Friday in a bitter labour dispute with unions, sweeping away blockades at fuel depots after President Francois Hollande vowed to "stand firm" over the reform that sparked the industrial action. A defiant Hollande said he would not give in to the unions' demands to withdraw the measures that the Socialist government hope will free up France's famously rigid labour market. Authorities stepped up their offensive early in the morning, when riot police swept away a blockade of burning tyres at an oil depot near a Total refinery in Donges, western France.
The department's monthly strike report showed 35,100 Verizon employees were idle during the survey period for the May payrolls count. Striking workers who do not receive a paycheck during the period are considered unemployed. Labor Secretary Thomas Perez said on Friday that Verizon and unions representing the striking workers had reached a tentative deal.