PARIS — A one-day teachers strike protesting plans to cut 5,000 teaching jobs locked millions of French students out of school Monday.
In Paris, 10,000 teachers marched from the Sorbonne to the Education Ministry, shouting slogans criticizing a proposed 1997 government budget that would cut jobs across the public sector.
The budget, unveiled last month, calls for strict austerity measures to shrink France's deficit and bring the economy in line with European Union standards for the planned introduction of a common currency in 1999.
"The draft budget for next year includes major job cuts and the reduction or even the complete end of recruiting young teachers at a time when the national education system is seriously in need," said Isabelle Voltaire, a high school mathematics teacher who marched in Paris.
The Education Ministry said about 56% of primary school teachers and 44% of high school teachers joined the strike. The teachers union said 60% to 80% of the nation's 900,000 teachers participated.