Sunday, March 3, 2024

Retired at 64? number! The French refused and took to the streets

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Alan Binder
Alan Binder
"Alcohol scholar. Twitter lover. Zombieaholic. Hipster-friendly coffee fanatic."

Transport, schools and the energy sector have been hit by widespread strikes across France. According to police estimates, 1.272 million people demonstrated against the proposed pension reform. The French Trade Union Confederation CGT, which called the strike, reported 2.8 million participants, ČTK agency reports.

Protesters reject reform to the unpopular pension system introduced by the French government in early January. Among other things, he plans to gradually raise the retirement age by two years to 64 years.

Opinion polls show that the majority of French people do not agree with the proposal of Emmanuel Macron and his government.

“The government has lost the ideological battle,” said Felipe Martinez of the left-wing CGT union. According to him, participation in protests even in small towns and villages shows that “politicians should listen to the people.”

Police expected up to a million people to take part in the street demonstrations. There was a similar turnout on January 19, when there was also a demonstration. It was the biggest protest since right-wing President Nicolas Sarkozy raised the retirement age from 60 to 62 in 2010.

Robin Hood action

According to railway operators, mass transit in capitals and regions was “very disrupted” on Tuesday. The strikes also limited air travel. Air France reported to the message WatchmanThat they had to cancel every tenth flight.

In a show of solidarity, some municipal councils controlled by the left-wing local government were closed on Tuesday. The mayor of socialist Paris, Anne Hidalgo, right on the streets of Paris, accused the government of “shameful lies.” According to her, this is the argument of government representatives that a pension change is necessary.

Some union groups launch so-called “Robin Hood actions” at the local level. In the southwest region of Lot-et-Garonne, the local branch of the CGT union has cut power to several speed cameras and disabled smart energy meters.

“When there is so much opposition, it would be dangerous for the government not to listen,” said Mylene Jacot, general secretary of the CFDT’s Civil Servants Branch.

lowest in Europe

The president said Monday night that the changes were “essential when comparing ourselves to the rest of Europe” and that changes must be made to “save” France’s state pension system. France’s retirement age of 62 is the lowest of all major European economies.

Macron’s government has hardened in recent days and it appears he wants to push through change despite popular opposition. They say the changes are needed to secure future funding for the pension system, which is expected to run into a deficit in the next few years. But political opponents and unions say the system is currently balanced, noting that the head of the independent Pensions Advisory Council recently told Parliament that “pension spending is not out of control, it is being relatively contained”.

7 thousand modifications

Prime Minister Elizabeth Borne said raising the retirement age to 64 was “non-negotiable”. In particular, Borneo is under pressure to at least amend proposals for mothers who have cut off their careers to care for children and who may find themselves at a disadvantage compared to men.

Women of all age groups make up a large portion of the demonstrators. Clemence Gate of the radical left-wing La France Insomèze party said the gender wage and pension gap was “unacceptable”.

Home Secretary Gerald Darmanin used the arguments to attack the left. According to him, the left parties “want to corrupt the whole country” and defend “laziness and socialism.”

The pension changes have not yet been passed in parliament, with Macron’s centrist group losing its outright majority. The left-wing opposition has put forward more than 7,000 amendments to the bill in a bid to slow its passage in Parliament. The government had hoped to pass the law quickly with the support of some lawmakers on the Republican right. Instead, he faces the challenge of finding support for his own proposal in Macron’s group.

Company survey Odoxa On Tuesday it found that the popularity of Macron and Borneo fell by five points in one month.

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