French PM Macron to double pension age as strike looms


France’s prime minister on Sunday denied plans to raise the retirement age as unions prepare for another day of mass protests against the disputed reforms.

Published: 29 January 2023 12:34 CET

Raising the minimum retirement age from 62 to 64 is part of a major reform package pushed by President Emmanuel Macron to ensure the future funding of the French pension system.

After more than a million people took to the streets on January 19 to protest the change, the government announced a number of years of contribution required to be eligible for a full pension, for those who started. He suggested that some measures, such as special deals, could be adjusted. Preparing for working at a very young age and for mothers who took a break from their careers to care for their children.

But the 64-year-old headline age limit is not up for debate, Prime Minister Elisabeth Born said on Sunday.

“This is now non-negotiable,” she told broadcaster FranceInfo.

Unions welcome the government’s readiness to negotiate parts of the plan, but say the proposed 1964 rule must be scrapped.

Calling the reforms “unfair”, France’s eight major unions, in a rare show of solidarity, said on Tuesday, the next scheduled day of protests, that the show was “even bigger than earlier this month.” I hope to mobilize to

“more people”

“It looks like there are more people,” said Celine Berzeletti, a member of the coalition leadership of the far-left union CGT.

“People are strongly opposed to the project and their views are gaining support,” Laurent Berger, head of the moderate CFDT union, said, pointing to opinion polls.

He warned that it would be a “mistake” for the government to ignore mobilization.

Both unions and the government see Tuesday’s protests as a major test.

About 200 protests have been organized across the country, with a major march planned in Paris, culminating in demonstrations in front of the parliament when parliamentary committees will begin considering the bill on Monday.

Left-wing opposition parties have submitted more than 7,000 amendments to the draft to delay parliamentary passage.

Macron’s allies do not have an absolute majority in parliament and need a vote from conservatives to approve the pension plan.

Governments have the option to force legislation through without a vote under special constitutional powers, but they risk triggering a vote of no confidence and possibly new parliamentary elections.

In addition to the protest marches, unions called for widespread strike action on Tuesday as rail services and public transport are expected to be severely affected.

Schools and governments are also expected to shut down, and some local governments have already announced the closure of public spaces such as sports stadiums.

Some unions called for more strikes in February, including at commercial ports, refineries and power plants.

Some observers said unions are playing for high stakes and Tuesday’s loose support could prove fatal to their momentum.

“They set the bar high,” says political science professor Dominique Andrufat. French PM Macron to double pension age as strike looms

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