Three-quarters of French back strike - survey

PARIS, March 16 (Reuters) - Three-quarters of French people support a general strike called for Thursday to protest against President Nicolas Sarkozy’s economic policies, according to a survey published on Monday.

According to the telephone survey of 1,003 people by pollsters BVA for business daily Les Echos and France Info radio, 74 percent of those questioned said the day of action was justified, compared with 23 percent who said it was not.

The strike, called by the main French trade unions, follows a protest in January that organisers said drew 2.5 million people to the streets.

Thursday’s protest has created a headache for the government, forcing it to tread a fine line between defending its policies and expressing sympathy for the concerns of workers who fear for their jobs.

The survey also found that the government’s policies remained very unpopular, with 62 percent expressing unfavourable opinions against 34 percent who backed them.

It also showed outrage over oil giant Total's TOTF.PA recent decision to cut 555 jobs after reporting record profits of almost 14 billion euros ($18.09 billion) last year, with 83 percent of those questioned saying the decision was unjustified.

The move by Total, denounced by Employment Minister Laurent Wauquiez as “scandalous”, has sparked outrage from politicians on all sides and fuelled resentment about corporate profits and the economic crisis. (Writing by James Mackenzie, editing by Mark Trevelyan)