TIMES.KY

Cayman Islands, Caribbeanand International News
Monday, May 20, 2024

French protests against Macron’s pension reform gather momentum

French protests against Macron’s pension reform gather momentum

Protests against French President Emmanuel Macron’s plan to reform the pension system gathered momentum on Tuesday, with more than 1.27 million people in the street according to the interior ministry.
The number of demonstrators increased slightly compared to a first round of protests on January 19, putting pressure on the government which is struggling to convince voters of the need for the changes.

“The government must hear the massive rejection of this project and withdraw it,” Patricia Drevon from the Force Ouvriere union told a joint press conference with other labor leaders on Tuesday evening.

Two more days of strikes and protests were announced for next week on Tuesday and Saturday.

Macron’s plan to raise the age of retirement from 62 to 64 is a flagship policy of his second term in office which he defended on Monday as “essential” given forecasts for deficits in the coming years.

“The reform of the pension system is causing questioning and doubts. We hear it,” Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne wrote on Twitter on Tuesday, while insisting on the government’s “responsibility” to carry out the changes.

Unions claimed turnout nation-wide on Tuesday was around 2.5 million, with the hard-left CGT suggesting 2.8 million earlier in the day.

Strikes crippled transport, schools and other public services around the country.

“It’s one of the biggest demonstrations organized in our country in decades,” the head of the moderate CFDT union, Laurent Berger, said as a large crowd dominated by union members, public sector workers and students began marching in Paris.

The last comparable protests were in 2010 — also against pension reform — which reached 1.23 million people at their peak according to official figures, and 3.5 million according to unions.

Despite the prospect of an increasingly bitter and costly stand-off, Macron has shown no sign of stepping back over an issue that has put his credibility on the line only nine months after his re-election.

France currently has the lowest qualifying age for a state pension among major European economies and spends the second-highest amount on pensions relative to the size of its economy compared to other industrialized countries, according to OECD data.

“We need people to join the movement, rolling strikes that have a real impact,” Viviane Rongione, a retired teacher, told AFP as she marched on Tuesday. “Protests every 10 days won’t be enough to make the government back down.”

Tuesday’s demonstrations were peaceful, but minor scuffles broke out in Paris in the afternoon between anarchist and far-left activists and police. Police said they had arrested 18 people.

Large crowds also took to the streets in the rest of the country including in Marseille, Montpellier, Lyon, Nantes and Bordeaux.

“I don’t want to wait until I’m 64. I’m a nursery schoolteacher and it’s impossible to teach until that late in life,” said Sandrine Carre, 52, in the southwestern city of Bordeaux.

“We’re always having to crouch down, and already my knees hurt.”

The most controversial part of the overhaul is hiking the minimum retirement age, but it would also increase the minimum number of years needed to qualify for a full pension.

Opponents say the measures penalize the unqualified or unskilled workers who tend to start their working lives much earlier than graduates.

In the southwestern city of Toulouse, flight simulator repairman Christian, 54, said he could not wait until he was 65 to receive the maximum allowance.

“I’m already doing night shifts and it’s getting tougher,” he said.

Across the country, millions had to adapt their daily routines as workers in transport and education staged walkouts.

The SNCF national railway company said it had canceled 65 percent of high-speed TGV trains and 75 percent of regional trains.

France’s oil industry was mostly paralyzed, with the CGT union at energy giant TotalEnergies reporting between 75 and 100 percent of workers on strike.

Public opinion is likely to be crucial in the coming weeks as the government looks to swiftly pass the legislation in parliament and unions prepare more public defiance.

Sixty-one percent of French people support the protest movement, a poll by the OpinionWay survey group showed on Monday — a rise of three percentage points from January 12.

“The more French people find out about the reform, the less they support it,” said Frederic Dabi, a prominent pollster at the Ifop institute. “This is not good at all for the government.”

Macron’s centrist allies, short of an absolute majority in parliament, will need votes from conservatives to push through the new legislation.
Newsletter

Related Articles

TIMES.KY
0:00
0:00
Close
Paper straws found to contain long-lasting and potentially toxic chemicals - study
FTX's Bankman-Fried headed for jail after judge revokes bail
Blackrock gets half a trillion dollar deal to rebuild Ukraine
Israel: Unprecedented Civil Disobedience Looms as IDF Reservists Protest Judiciary Reform
America's First New Nuclear Reactor in Nearly Seven Years Begins Operations
Southeast Asia moves closer to economic unity with new regional payments system
Today Hunter Biden’s best friend and business associate, Devon Archer, testified that Joe Biden met in Georgetown with Russian Moscow Mayor's Wife Yelena Baturina who later paid Hunter Biden $3.5 million in so called “consulting fees”
Singapore Carries Out First Execution of a Woman in Two Decades Amid Capital Punishment Debate
Google testing journalism AI. We are doing it already 2 years, and without Google biased propoganda and manipulated censorship
Unlike illegal imigrants coming by boats - US Citizens Will Need Visa To Travel To Europe in 2024
Musk announces Twitter name and logo change to X.com
The politician and the journalist lost control and started fighting on live broadcast.
The future of sports
Unveiling the Black Hole: The Mysterious Fate of EU's Aid to Ukraine
Farewell to a Music Titan: Tony Bennett, Renowned Jazz and Pop Vocalist, Passes Away at 96
Alarming Behavior Among Florida's Sharks Raises Concerns Over Possible Cocaine Exposure
Transgender Exclusion in Miss Italy Stirs Controversy Amidst Changing Global Beauty Pageant Landscape
Joe Biden admitted, in his own words, that he delivered what he promised in exchange for the $10 million bribe he received from the Ukraine Oil Company.
TikTok Takes On Spotify And Apple, Launches Own Music Service
Global Trend: Using Anti-Fake News Laws as Censorship Tools - A Deep Dive into Tunisia's Scenario
Arresting Putin During South African Visit Would Equate to War Declaration, Asserts President Ramaphosa
Hacktivist Collective Anonymous Launches 'Project Disclosure' to Unearth Information on UFOs and ETIs
Typo sends millions of US military emails to Russian ally Mali
Server Arrested For Theft After Refusing To Pay A Table's $100 Restaurant Bill When They Dined & Dashed
The Changing Face of Europe: How Mass Migration is Reshaping the Political Landscape
China Urges EU to Clarify Strategic Partnership Amid Trade Tensions
Europe is boiling: Extreme Weather Conditions Prevail Across the Continent
The Last Pour: Anchor Brewing, America's Pioneer Craft Brewer, Closes After 127 Years
Democracy not: EU's Digital Commissioner Considers Shutting Down Social Media Platforms Amid Social Unrest
Sarah Silverman and Renowned Authors Lodge Copyright Infringement Case Against OpenAI and Meta
Italian Court's Controversial Ruling on Sexual Harassment Ignites Uproar
Why Do Tech Executives Support Kennedy Jr.?
The New York Times Announces Closure of its Sports Section in Favor of The Athletic
BBC Anchor Huw Edwards Hospitalized Amid Child Sex Abuse Allegations, Family Confirms
Florida Attorney General requests Meta CEO's testimony on company's platforms' alleged facilitation of illicit activities
The Distorted Mirror of actual approval ratings: Examining the True Threat to Democracy Beyond the Persona of Putin
40,000 child slaves in Congo are forced to work in cobalt mines so we can drive electric cars.
BBC Personalities Rebuke Accusations Amidst Scandal Involving Teen Exploitation
A Swift Disappointment: Why Is Taylor Swift Bypassing Canada on Her Global Tour?
Historic Moment: Edgars Rinkevics, EU's First Openly Gay Head of State, Takes Office as Latvia's President
Bye bye democracy, human rights, freedom: French Cops Can Now Secretly Activate Phone Cameras, Microphones And GPS To Spy On Citizens
The Poor Man With Money, Mark Zuckerberg, Unveils Twitter Replica with Heavy-Handed Censorship: A New Low in Innovation?
Unilever Plummets in a $2.5 Billion Free Fall, to begin with: A Reckoning for Misuse of Corporate Power Against National Interest
Beyond the Blame Game: The Need for Nuanced Perspectives on America's Complex Reality
Twitter Targets Meta: A Tangle of Trade Secrets and Copycat Culture
The Double-Edged Sword of AI: AI is linked to layoffs in industry that created it
US Sanctions on China's Chip Industry Backfire, Prompting Self-Inflicted Blowback
Meta Copy Twitter with New App, Threads
The New French Revolution
BlackRock Bitcoin ETF Application Refiled, Naming Coinbase as ‘Surveillance-Sharing’ Partner
×