Wednesday, February 21, 2024
 
 

France hit by new mass protests

EPA-EFE/IAN LANGSDON
French President Emmanuel Macron answers questions after announcing a series of reforms during his first-ever domestic press conference at the Elysee Palace in Paris, France, 25 April 2019. This announcement comes after nearly six months of anti-government 'Yellow Vest' protests.

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More than 400,000 protesters took to the streets across France on 9 January, in the longest transport strike in the country’s history. Workers reject president Emmanuel Macron’s proposed reform of the pension system, something that has always been a sensitive topic in the country.
The strikes have slowed public services. Transport services were limited and schools were closed in the capital as well as other cities, as the protests entered their sixth week.
Workers’ unions are unhappy with Macron‘s plans to simplify the existing pension system, that currently consists of more than 40 different schemes, and which Macron explains is unfair and too costly. Trade unions, fear people will be forced to work longer for smaller pensions.
Prime minister Edouard Philippe unveiled the details of the reform plan on 11 December. The new rules imply introduction of a €1,000 minimum monthly pension for those who have worked a full career; mandatory minimum retirement age of 62; and bonus system to encourage people to work till the age of 64.
Under the new rules, the worker will receive a lower pension if they were self-employed for a while, or had health issues that prevented them from working for some period.
Unions weren’t happy when the government said the reforms will only apply in full to people entering the labor market after 2022 and would not impact anyone born before 1975.
CFDT, the largest workers union, has urged the government to hold a separate “financing conference” with unions on possible alternatives to the pivot age.
“We have to step up our actions, and other sectors have to take up the baton”, a representative of the FSU teachers’ union said.
Rallies are again planned for 11 January and new protests have been called for next week.

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