Huge crowds marched across France, piling pressure on Macron’s pension reform

  • The reform will increase the retirement age from 62 to 64
  • Colleges, transportation networks and refinery deliveries have been affected
  • Macron: Reform is important to make sure the continuity of the pension system

PARIS (Reuters) – Enormous crowds marched throughout France on Tuesday to say “no” to President Emmanuel Macron’s plan to make individuals work longer earlier than retiring, as stress mounted within the streets towards a authorities that claims it should stand agency.

Opinion polls present a big majority of French oppose elevating the retirement age to 64 from 62, a transfer Macron says is “important” to making sure the continuity of the pension system.

In Paris, whereas police and union estimates diversified extensively, all of them agreed the numbers had been up from the primary day of nationwide anti-reform protests on January 19.

This was true of most of France. Within the western metropolis of Nantes, for instance, 23,000 individuals took to the streets, authorities mentioned, up from 17,000 on the nineteenth.

“It is higher than it was on the nineteenth… It is an actual message despatched to the federal government, saying we do not need 64,” Laurent Berger, who leads France’s largest CFDT, mentioned earlier than the Paris rally.

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Demonstrating behind banners studying “No to reform” or “We won’t give up,” many mentioned they’d take to the streets as typically as wanted till the federal government backed down.

“For a president, it is simple. He sits in a chair … he can work till he is 70,” bus driver Isabelle Texier mentioned at a protest in Saint-Nazaire on the Atlantic coast. “We will not ask the roof layers to work as much as 64, it is not attainable.”

Hanging employees have disrupted French refinery shipments, public transport and colleges, even when, in lots of sectors, fewer jobs left on Tuesday than on the nineteenth as a result of the cost-of-living disaster makes it laborious to skip a day’s wages.

Extra hits?

For unions, which appeared prone to announce extra industrial measures later within the day, the problem will probably be sustaining strikes at a time when excessive inflation is eroding payroll.

A union supply mentioned that about 36.5% of the SNCF’s rail operator employees had been on strike by noon — down about 10% from January 19 — even when the disruption to coach visitors was broadly related.

On the rail networks, just one in three high-speed TGV trains and fewer native and regional trains had been working. Providers on the Paris metro had been thrown into chaos.

EDF Utilities Group (EDF.PA) He mentioned 40.3% of employees had been on strike, down from 44.5%. The Training Ministry additionally mentioned that fewer academics had left their jobs.

Unions and firms typically disagreed about whether or not this strike was roughly profitable than the earlier one. for TotalEnergies (TTEF.PA)Fewer employees at its refineries had stopped utilizing the instruments, however CGT mentioned there have been extra.

EDF knowledge confirmed, nonetheless, that French power provides fell by about 5%, or 3.3 gigawatts, as employees at nuclear reactors and thermal crops joined the strike.

TotalEnergies mentioned shipments of petroleum merchandise from its French websites had stopped, however buyer wants had been being met.


The federal government mentioned pushing the retirement age to 64 was “non-negotiable”.

And with imposed reform testing Macron’s capability to push by means of change now that he has misplaced his working majority in Parliament, some felt resigned to compromising with conservative opponents who’re absolutely open to pension reform.

“There isn’t any level in occurring strike. This regulation will probably be adopted anyway,” mentioned Mathieu Jacot, 34, who works within the luxurious sector.

In keeping with estimates by the Labor Ministry, the pension reform will herald a further 17.7 billion euros ($19.18 billion) in annual pension contributions. Unions say there are different methods to boost income, corresponding to taxing the super-rich or asking employers or better-off pensioners to contribute extra.

“This reform is unfair and brutal,” mentioned Luke Farr, Secretary Normal of the UNSA Civil Servants Union.

And on a neighborhood degree, some have declared “Robin Hood” operations not approved by the federal government. Within the southwest area of Lot-et-Garonne, the native CGT union department has reduce energy to a number of pace cameras and disabled good power meters.

“When there’s large opposition, it might be harmful for the federal government to not hear,” mentioned Mylene Jacot, common secretary of the CFDT’s civil servants department.

Extra reporting by Sybil de la Hamid, Forrest Crelin, Benjamin Mallet, Alain Ako, Lily Forode, Stéphane Mahe, Benoit van Overstraeten, Lee Thomas, Michel Rose, Bertrand Bussy; Written by Ingrid Melander and Richard Love; Enhancing by Janet Lawrence, Mark Heinrichs and Gareth Jones

Our requirements: Thomson Reuters Belief Rules.

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