World, Europe

Strikes over pension reforms to resume in France

After meeting with government, leading union demands strikes continue next month

Büşra Nur Bilgiç   | 19.12.2019
Strikes over pension reforms to resume in France Participants march during a demonstration from Gare de Lyon to the Gare de l'Est in Paris on December 19, 2019, on the 15th day of a nationwide multi-sector strike against the French government's pensions overhaul. - A gruelling French transport strike over a planned pension reform entered its third week on December 19, with little relief in sight after talks between unions and the government failed to bring the two sides any closer to a compromise. ( Julien Mattia - Anadolu Agency )


A leading French union on Thursday demanded strikes continue against President Emmanuel Macron’s controversial pension reforms.

General Confederation of Labor (CGT) leader Philippe Martinez said after his meeting with Prime Minister Edouard Philippe that a deal has not been reached with the government and so the strikes would continue on Jan. 9.

Martinez said Philippe remains deaf to the streets and nothing has changed on the government front.

France saw one of the biggest strikes in its recent history on Dec. 5 with strikers continuing protests against the pension scheme.

The Interior Ministry said 806,000 people took part in the protests, while labor unions put the number at nearly 1.5 million. Police used smoke bombs to disperse the crowds.

More than 90 people have been arrested, according to police.   

Proposed reforms  

France currently has 42 different pension programs for different sectors, but the government proposed unifying the system.

The current program is based on the principle of solidarity between generations under which the working population finances the pensioners of that year.

But due to the aging population, fewer people are paying into the current system.

To fix this, the government introduced a point-based system that would compensate workers with pension points for every day they work or every euro they contribute.

The plan would gradually raise the retirement age from 62 to 64, a move expected to adversely affect many sectors.

Workers would get full pensions if they retire at age 64. If they retired before, they would lose 5% for every year they retire early, or a 5% increase for every year if they retire after age 64.

The protests and strikes have been supported by numerous labor and police unions as well as the Yellow Vests movement.  

*Writing and contribution by Busra Nur Bilgic Cakmak in Ankara

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