Against the plan of Emmanuel Macron’s government, a day of strikes and demonstrations began this Thursday in France Reform of the pension system by raising the minimum retirement age to 64 years.
The protests, coordinated by the eight largest French unions, could paralyze a large part of the countryas workers in sectors such as railways, schools, hospitals and air traffic controllers join the 24-hour strike.
“I think the million[of protesters]will be exceeded given the numbers I already have.” said the general secretary of the CGT union, Philippe Martínez, just before the start of the Paris march, quoted by BFMTV.
Transport Minister Clément Beaune has warned it will be “a Thursday of hardship” and urged those who can to work from home. Meanwhile, figures provided by authorities suggest at least a million people marched through the country’s streets. At the same time, They estimate that 80,000 citizens took part in the rallies in Parisget the local media.
In addition, 40,000 people marched through the city of Lyon, while 30,000 in Toulouse, 26,000 through Marseille, 15,000 through Montpellier and 14,000 through Tours.
—Henri (@PravicaSK) January 19, 2023
The unions, for their part, estimate that the number of demonstrators will roughly double. In total, mobilizations were called in more than 200 cities.
The national railway company SNCF operates a third of the trains on its high-speed lines, while in the Paris Metro, one of the lines was completely closed and another twelve operated with interruptions.
A significant drop in electricity production was recorded in the morning and supplies from refineries operated by TotalEnergies were halted.
The Ministry of Education reported that 42% of primary school teachers and 35% of secondary school teachers joined the strike, with an average turnout of 38.5% for teachersreports Le Figaro.
At Orly Airport in Paris, 20% of flights have been cancelled. Other public facilities remain closed.
the day does not pass without tension or confrontation between police and protesters. In particular, several agents fired tear gas at students at the Helene Boucher Gymnasium in the capital’s 20th district as they prepared to put up anti-pension reform banners outside the facility’s doors, BFMTV reports. According to preliminary information at least 20 people were arrested as part of the mobilization in the capital.
According to a survey by OpinionWay for Les Echos, the majority of the French are against the reform, aimed at raising the minimum retirement age in France from 62 to 64 and against the requirement to increase the contribution period to at least 43 years in order to be entitled to a full pension from 2027.
For its part, the Department of Labor estimates that pushing back the retirement age by two years and extending the payout period would bring satisfaction another €17.7 billion ($19.1 million) in annual pension contributions that would allow the system to break even by 2027, AFP estimates. The government plans to present the bill to Parliament in February.
Since taking office as president in 2017, Macron has proposed pension reform. In 2020, after months of demonstrations and strikes, she withdrew a reform proposal, citing the Covid 19 pandemic as the reason.
Currently, the president is in Barcelona with eleven ministers to sign a “treaty of friendship and cooperation” with the president of the Spanish government, Pedro Sánchez.
When asked about the day of the protests, Macron conceded the right to express any opinions because – he said – “is the beginning of a democracy“I trust the organizers that this legitimate manifestation of discontent will be carried out without major inconvenience to our compatriots and without excess or violence,” said the President.
Marseille, Toulouse, Nice, Lyon, Avignon, Clermont-Ferrand, Le Havre, Montpellier, Mulhouse, Rouen, Saint-Etienne…
Great mobilization against the #ReformDesRetraites
— Charlies Ingalls Le Vrai 🤠🐑🐄🐔🐎🤓 (@CharliesIngalls) January 19, 2023
(Taken from RT in Spanish)