TENS OF THOUSANDS PROTEST MARCH ACROSS FRANCE AGAINST PENSION REFORM.
Written by AIGBOKHAEBHO OKHUELEIGBE on January 31, 2023
Tens of thousands of people are protesting across France for a second time this month against a government proposal to raise the retirement age of workers. This proposal is part of the French President, Macron’s Campaign Policy.
Huge crowds marched through cities to denounce a reform that would raise the retirement age by two years to 64 and poses a test of Emmanuel Macron’s ability to push through his policies.
Twelve days ago, the CGT said 400,000 demonstrators marched through the French capital to complain about President Macron’s vow to raise the pension age to 64 from 62, which is the lowest level in any major European economy.
Macron made the change part of this re-election manifesto last April.
Opponents point out that the system is balanced and that the head of the independent Pensions Advisory Council recently told parliament that pension spending were not out of control.
Striking workers disrupted French refinery deliveries, public transport and schools on Tuesday. The leading CGT union said on Tuesday that half a million people were protesting in Paris alone.
Labour unions and left-wing legislators in parliament are counting on protesters to turn out in large numbers to strengthen their efforts to kill the bill after Macron lost his working majority in parliament.
A first round of strikes and protests on January 19 brought out an estimated one million to two million demonstrators, including tens of thousands in Paris.
The government has mobilised 11,000 officers to handle the protests.
Positions are hardening on both sides as lawmakers begin locking horns in parliament over the government’s retirement reform bill.
Elisabeth Borne, the French Prime Minister, has said there is room for negotiation on certain aspects of the reform.
Conditions could be improved for people who started working very young, as well as for mothers who interrupted their careers to look after their children and for people who invested in further education.
But she called the 64 age limit non-negotiable.
Opinion polls show a substantial majority of the French oppose the reform, but Macron intends to stand his ground