February 6, 2023

France prepares for strikes and protests against pension reform – News



France is preparing for a series of strikes and large-scale protests aimed at curbing a pension reform project that faces opposition from unions and parties from the far-left and far-right.

The unions called for strikes and demonstrations on Thursday (19), and more sectoral strikes will follow in the coming weeks, while the government launched a media campaign and interviews to try to persuade public opinion.

For now, the public sector will see strikes on Thursday on railways, transport in the Paris region, education (including universities), police and prisons. In the private sector, there will be strikes in energy, among commercial flight crews and other smaller areas of the economy.

“The debate in the National Assembly will take place on the basis of mobilization and strikes. The battle will be fought first in the companies and in the streets,” warned CGT general secretary Philippe Martinez, in an interview with France 3 state television.




The goal: paralyze the country



The aim of the unions is to paralyze the country, as in the series of major strikes in 1995, against the plan of Prime Minister Alain Juppe (under the presidency of conservative Jacques Chirac) to reform social security, including private systems in the public sector. comp.

5 million working days were lost, 4 million in the public sector and 1 million in the private sector. On December 12 of that year two million people demonstrated across the country, according to unions (one million according to the police), and only three days later the government withdrew the bill.

“We can do better than it was back then,” Felipe Martinez said optimistically in remarks last Friday.

“The unions have the right to call for strikes and demonstrations, but they do not have the right to besiege the country,” Labor Minister Olivier Dusopt warned Sunday.






The main points of the government’s plan are to increase the minimum retirement age from 62 to 64 years by 2030, and expect to increase the contribution from 42 to 43 years until 2027 so that you can enjoy a full retirement (expected so far for 2035).

Dussopp, in an interview with France Inter public broadcaster, noted that the reform takes into account those who start working before the age of 20. For example, those who started their careers at the age of 18 will be able to retire at the age of 60 with a full pension: “They will work no more than those who started later.”




opposition



Opposition to the project reaches 68% of France’s population, according to a survey conducted by Ifop, one of France’s main research institutes, and published by the Journal du Dimanche on Sunday. The percentage is higher (71%) among young people, the working classes, and the unemployed.

These numbers can be explained by the fact that the government’s rhetoric about saving the pension system is “not working”, commented Frédéric Dappy, Director General of Opinion at Ifop.

However, Dabi sees a “weaker” desire to mobilize on the streets, as the government seems to have secured votes in both houses of parliament thanks to the support of the conservative party Os Republicanos, which is a given.

However, the government launched a major campaign of action and media presence to try to convince the population.

On Thursday, the day of mobilization, French President Emmanuel Macron will be in Barcelona for the Spanish-French summit with the head of the Spanish government, Pedro Sanchez.