PARIS, Feb. 24 (UPI) -- French unions have called for strikes next month to coincide with a visit by International Olympic Committee members seeking a site for the 2012 Summer Games.
At issue for the unions is a proposed lengthening of the 35-hour workweek, the International Herald Tribune said Thursday. But also at issue is the Paris Olympic budget of $5.2 billion and the potential for creating 42,000 jobs.
The IOC members will visit the city for three days beginning March 9, with unions calling for nationwide walkouts March 10.
"The strikes constitute a serious handicap for our bid," Claude Goasguen, a Paris City Council member. "They give a very bad image to Paris, especially since we are already known for frequent street protests."
Bertrand Delanoe, the mayor of Paris, a Socialist who is the Olympic bid's prime cheerleader, has tried to calm the outrage following the strike announcement.
"It's their democratic right to strike and I won't ask them not to," Delanoe told the newspaper "But I have spoken to all of them and they all want the Games and wouldn't want to jeopardize our chances of winning them."