Striking French workers threaten to ruin King Charles’ red-carpet welcome

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Workers striking in France are threatening to pull the rug out from under British King Charles when he comes to visit — or rather, the red carpet.

The king is set to make his first trip abroad as the new reigning U.K. monarch for a three-day visit to France starting Sunday amid fierce protests against President Emmanuel Macron’s controversial pension reforms.

Unions from various sectors have been demonstrating for weeks against the plans, with a general strike Thursday including those working for the Mobilier National — a department of the culture ministry tasked with furnishing official buildings, such as the Elysée Palace, the French president’s residence.

“We are fully aware that the King of England will be welcomed in France at the end of the week, and that our services will be required,” the unions representing the workers said in a statement Tuesday.

“This has nothing to do with protocol, but it will be without us,” the statement read, adding that the workers would not provide “neither the furniture nor the red carpets.”

The king may still get the glamorous welcome to which he’s accustomed, however: Public broadcaster FranceInfo reported Thursday, citing an unnamed source, that workers who are not going on strike have already brought a red carpet to the Elysée Palace.

The royal visit could still face disruptions due to the protests against the unpopular pension reform, which includes raising the retirement age from 62 to 64. Macron has continued to stand by the measures on which he campaigned, narrowly surviving a vote of no confidence earlier this week after making the controversial choice last week to bypass parliament and force through the legislation.