Paris: Thousands of striking public sector workers marched across the country Thursday to demand better pay and protest against the government’s austerity to restore its finances.

Union organisers said that 20,000 public servants in state schools, hospitals, airports and police officers staged one-day strike in Paris, Xinhua reported.

In France’s second biggest town of Marseille, 31,000 state employees stayed off work. In Toulouse, 10,000 demonstrators took to streets calling for better wages, according to unions’ figures.

The strike disrupted air traffic with more than 100 flights cancelled and others delayed from and to French airports of Roissy, Orly, Toulouse, Marseille and Nice.

France’s flag carrier Air France said 115 flights mainly from Orly ariport to southern destinations of Marseille and Nice were cancelled to the strike.

The CGT labour union expected 300,000 people to take part in 110 protests organised across the country.

Under pressure to trim spending and respect deficit safe line of three percent mandated by the European Union, the ruling Socialists refused to lift a public sector pay freeze imposed by the former president Nicolas Sarkozy in 2010.

Speaking to France info radio, Public Services Minister Marylise Lebranchu said, “We can make such move when growth resumes in our country. With zero growth, there will be no lift (of frozen wages).”

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