Strikes Continue in France, Cabinet Passes Controversial Pension Reform

  • Once the cabinet adopts the two bills aimed at creating a "comprehensive pension system" based on a system of balances, it will refer them to Parliament.
  • Discussions are continuing between the government, unions, and employers on focal points of the project.
  • Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said that "the strike faces a dead-end."

On Friday, the French cabinet discussed and passed the controversial pension reform project proposed by President Emmanuel Macron. Opponents of the reform have chosen this date to organize strikes and demonstrations. The head of the General Confederation of Labor, Philippe Martinez pledged to “withstand the withdrawal” of the reform project. Once it is adopted, however, the cabinet will refer the bill to Parliament for decision.

Emmanuel Jean-Michel Frédéric Macron is a French politician serving as President of the French Republic since 2017. Macron was appointed a deputy secretary general by President Francois Hollande shortly after his election in May 2012, making Macron one of Hollande’s senior advisers.

Union Coordination, which brings together a large number of unions, hopes that during the fifty-first day of the movement, which started on December 5 last year, they will achieve “maximum mobilization,” and this will “continue to expand the movements.” In Paris, the demonstration procession is expected to pass in the center of the capital, where it will start late in the morning from the Republic Square towards the Place de la Concorde, and is expected to spread at seven in the evening (6:00 PM GMT).

Security Governor Didier Lamon said that the police “harnessed important human and material resources” in anticipation of “violence and sabotage.” He called for “each party to take its responsibility” to avoid similar incidents. Tension escalated to its highest levels this week after power cuts were adopted by the General Confederation of Labor, whose police briefly detained some of its members.

After returning to a near-normal position in the transport sector in the last days, traffic will witness a new disruption, due to the rail strike and public transport in Paris, especially the metro. Once the cabinet adopts the two bills aimed at creating a “comprehensive pension system” based on a system of balances, it will refer them to Parliament.

Édouard Philippe is a French politician serving as Prime Minister of France since 15 May 2017 under President Emmanuel Macron. A lawyer by occupation, Philippe is a former member of the Union for a Popular Movement (UMP), which later became The Republicans (LR).

Discussions are continuing between the government, unions, and employers on focal points of the project, such as the arduous occupations, the minimum pensions, and the employment of the elderly. There are many issues that make the final cost of reform unclear. “Balance (the financial system for the new pension system) up to 2027” will be addressed in a “funders conference,” charged with finding a solution before the end of April.

Even if the mobilization declines, it remains supported by most of the public, according to opinion polls. The government has so far responded to the demand of reformist unions (the French Democratic Confederation of Labor, the National Confederation of Independent Trade Unions and the French Confederation of Christian Workers) by withdrawing a proposal to raise the retirement age to 64, instead of the legal age of 62.

Prime Minister Édouard Philippe said that “the strike faces a dead-end.” It “lasted too long.” The unions that are more opposed to reform considered this a “hoax,” and hinted at the possibility of their bases tending towards “extremism.” He announced new moves, especially on January 24, the day the bill on pension systems introduced to the cabinet.

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Joyce Davis

My history goes back to 2002 and I  worked as a reporter, interviewer, news editor, copy editor, managing editor, newsletter founder, almanac profiler, and news radio broadcaster.


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