New legislation in France aiming to raise the retirement age is facing strong opposition nationwide. French unions of workers in various sectors have embarked on a massive industrial action in protest against President Emmanuel Macron’s new policy.
The bill would increase the working years of French citizens by two years. This means that to be fully pensionable, an individual must retire at 64 against the previous 62. The unions have perceived this as a significant threat to the French social model.
No less than 250 protests are expected to hit the streets of Paris as the organizers hope Macron will feel the heat this time. The transportation sector is the most prominent actor in the process, with workers ready to boycott their duties.
According to a Newsmax Report, some flights have already been canceled at Paris’ Charles de Gaulle Airport and Orly Airport. The Railway Authority also plans to stop all trains to Germany and Spain. Trains from Britain are also expected to reduce significantly in solidarity with the protest. Public sector workers across diverse industries are expected to stay off their jobs, with school teachers not excluded.
It all started last February when over one million people occupied the streets, towns and villages in protest against raising the retirement age. The previous demonstrations failed to get the job done and the eight unions involved in the protest vowed not to back down.
The turnout from the initial protests didn’t go unnoticed and Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne acknowledged the protesters’ concerns. The workers union believes that the government must rethink its position in the face of massive rejection and the government must withdraw its reform.
Borne had initially said that extending the years of work by two is no longer questionable. However, in the face of continuous protests that involved millions, the prime minister had a rethink. In an interview shared from her Twitter account, Borne seized the opportunity to calm the nerves of protesters determined to stay their course. The prime minister acknowledged that the pension reforms raise a concern.
Réformer notre système de retraite, c'est demander un effort collectif.
Je comprends que cela suscite des inquiétudes mais je sais aussi que les Français sont attachés à notre système par répartition, à la solidarité entre générations.
Si nous ne faisons rien, il ne tiendra pas. pic.twitter.com/SyHxO6G2rw
— Élisabeth BORNE (@Elisabeth_Borne) February 2, 2023
According to reports, Left Wing legislators also reject the bill. Veteran left-wing leader Jean-Luc Mélenchon commended the mass protest by citizens against Macron’s intended policy.