French trade unions expect massive demonstrations this Thursday against the unanimously opposed pension reforms of Emmanuel Macron’s government, with some sectors set for an indefinite strike. I assume it is possible.
Trains stopped, schools closed, and hundreds of thousands of protesters took to the streets. France Live this Thursday, a day of mass protests over the unpopular retirement age extension to 64, when a president’s political achievements will be put to the test Emmanuel Macron.
“Are we being hijacked! They don’t know what it’s like to work until you’re 64 in these conditions. We will be able to find the money,” school cheerleader Manon Marc told Agence France-Presse in Paris.
Pension reform is one of the key steps the 45-year-old French president promised during the campaign that led to his re-election in April.
But after years of crises (yellow vest social protests, pandemics, inflation), it represents for Macron a ‘living test’ of his mission and ‘the mark he leaves in history’. , reports the paper. Le Parisien.
The president, who is in Barcelona for a summit between Spain and France this Thursday, said the day before, given that there are trade unions “calling for demonstrations in the traditional framework” and others “wanting to lock down the country”. attempted to undermine the union front. .”
His intention was to delay it from 62 to 65, thus getting closer to other European countries, but whose Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne raised 64 years but will collect the full pension in 2027. brought forward the requirement to contribute 43 years to
The government believes it is necessary to reduce future deficits of pension funds.
These two points crystallize social and union rejection. An Ipsos poll released Wednesday showed 81% of French people believe reforms are needed, but 61% reject them and 58% support the strike movement.
“A tough battle awaits. The retirement age totem and extension of the contribution period must be abolished,” predicted FO union general secretary Frederic Suillot.
In 2010, it was the first united union front since a failed 2010 attempt to prevent a Conservative presidential government from raising the retirement age from 60 to 62. Nicolas Sarkozy He wants to take 1 million protesters to the streets.
The first of more than 200 protests planned in France has already started before the demonstration in Paris at 2pm (10am in Chile). Officials expect 550,000 to 750,000 protesters, including his 50,000 to 80,000 in the capital.
But will the success of 1995 be achieved? Existing in the collective imagination, this wintertime outcry was the last to leave subways and trains on the platform for more than three weeks, paralyzing pension reform.
“I work from home”
Minister Clément Beaune has already warned that it will be a ‘hell’ day for transport and has called on citizens to work from home, many of whom have to look after children.
According to labor unions, 70% of primary school teachers and 65% of secondary school teachers are on strike, with the Ministry of Education cutting these to 42.35% and 34.66% respectively.
Abdou Syll, a consultant who has to cross the Paris Region to get to his office, told the AFP agency, “I’m going to work from home because I can’t risk a strike.” Then, I will continue teleworking as long as possible.”
The metro and train circulation in Paris was “very confusing”. One metro line is completely closed and another 12 of his lines are only partially operating, he told Agencia AFP.
So does the SNCF railway company, where high-speed trains serve 1 in 3 to 5 regional trains, on average 1 in 10, depending on the line.
The energy sector was announced as key. Managers of the French electricity network RTE have noted a sharp drop in production, twice his consumption in Paris, and have warned strikers not to cut further.
The CGT union said the majority of refineries have registered between 70% and 100% of their employees on strike. This, combined with future strikes, has revived fears of fuel shortages similar to those experienced in October, forcing government intervention.
After this initial action, the union must decide how to continue. The government has to approve the final project on Monday, and parliamentary debates could continue until the end of March.
“The government has already lost the battle (…), it’s about persuading the people,” said Jean-Luc Melenchon, a left-wing leader in Marseille (southeast). Left-wing parties and far-right opposition parties will vote against reform.