France hit by widespread strikes against proposed pension reforms

French Unions conduct widespread protests against President Macron’s reform program which plans to push back the retirement age.

Source Credit: The Guardian

On Thursday, French Unions called for nationwide mobilization against President Emmanuel Macron’s proposed reform program which plans to raise the retirement age from 62 to 64.

Prime Minister Elizabeth Borne on Tuesday announced an overhaul of France’s pension system which was met with widespread criticism from various left-wing organizations and parties. The reforms are part of President Macron’s plans to make the country’s pension system more sustainable. 

Source Credit: CNBC

According to opinion polls, a vast majority of French citizens are opposed to the reforms. 65% of teachers are on strike causing many schools to be closed. The Paris metro is currently running on a skeleton crew whereas many rail lines were closed. 

French cities of Nantes, Lyon, Bordeaux, Marseille, and Toulouse saw tens of thousands of protesters in the morning when many public sector workers walked out. 

According to the proposed plans which were addressed in a press conference, the minimum retirement age entitled to a full pension will gradually increase by three months every year starting this year. 

Source Credit: BBC

Therefore by 2030, the retirement age would have increased from 62 to 64. Moreover starting from 2027, people need to work at least 43 years to get a full pension. Police officers and firefighters are exceptions to these reforms. 

The reforms are justified by the government to safeguard France’s pension system. 

Many left-wing parties and organizations have not received the news kindly as many argue that the changes are not needed to fund the country’s pension system. Many have instead suggested rethinking the tax system.

The proposed bill will go into parliament. It will be a big obstacle for President Macron’s RenaissanceRennaisance Party which does not have a majority in the Assembly. Instead, he will have to rely on the support of the Members of Parliament of the conservative Republicans party. 

However in regard to the pension reforms, many have warned they would vote against it instead of in favourfavor of it. 

Source Credit: CNN

The reforms have also received criticisms from the far right with the leader of Rassemblement Nationale (RN), Marine Le Pen saying that the French can count on their determination to block the unjust reforms. 

President Macron already has a poor image outside the cities and along with the energy crisis and constant reports of run-down public services are not helping him as well. 

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