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Monday, January 30, 2023

Strikes hit France as unions fight Macron’s pensions reform

World NewsStrikes hit France as unions fight Macron’s pensions reform

Paris/Barcelona: Tens of thousands of people took to the streets in France on Thursday to protest a deeply unpopular pension overhaul, with some protesters clashing with police in Paris, as strikes affected public transport, schools and much of the civil service.

The changes proposed by President Emmanuel Macron’s government last week would raise the retirement age for most people from 62 to 64 and increase the years of contributions required for a full pension.

France’s trade unions called for mass mobilization, the first time they have united since the retirement age was raised from 60 to 62 12 years ago.

About 400,000 people marched in the capital against President Macron’s plans to extend the retirement age, according to the hard-left CGT union, and more than 2 million across France. Police said earlier they had prepared for between 550,000 and 750,000 protesters across France, including up to 80,000 in the capital.

Interior Minister Gerald Derminen said on Wednesday that 10,000 police would be on alert, more than a third of them in the capital.

According to official estimates, many parents were looking after their children as around 40% of primary school teachers and over 30% of teachers in the secondary system took part in the strike. Unions put participation at 70% and 65% respectively.

Reduction in power generation

Strikers at state energy company EDF said they had cut power output by 7,000 megawatts, while grid operator RTE put the figure at 5,000 megawatts – enough to power two cities the size of Paris. Enough to do.

But the CGT union federation said the cuts would have “no impact on consumers”.

Philippe Martinez, head of the hard-left CGT union, told broadcaster Public Senate that the planned pension reform “bundles together everyone’s discontent” with the government, and that a rare united front among workers’ representatives appeared. “The problem is very serious”.

“It’s going to be a big day of mobilization, especially with all the unions on the same page,” Martinez said.

Prez defended the reforms.

President Macron said on Thursday that he hoped nationwide protests in France over his controversial pension reform campaign would not descend into violence. Speaking after a Franco-Spanish summit in Barcelona, ​​Macron defended the proposed changes as “fair and responsible”.

But he said he hoped the protests would be “without violence, violence or destruction”, insisting the deeply unpopular reforms were “democratically proposed and approved”.

Trade routes affected

Trucks were backed up along a motorway in northern France on Thursday after a workers’ strike blocked a ferry crossing between Dover and Calais, a key sea route for trade between Britain and the continent.


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