Today, French unions are striking to demand the withdrawal of President Macron’s proposed pension reforms.
The nationwide strike, which is anticipated to be one of the largest in decades, aims to protect France’s pension system from changes that would increase the retirement age and the number of active years needed for a full pension. Macron’s plans would also reduce pension pay-outs by 10-to-30 percent for many workers.
“We are in full solidarity French workers who are fighting to protect their hard-won right to retire with dignity,” said Christy Hoffman, UNI General Secretary. “Neo-liberal attempts at undermining social protections have proven time and time again to be flawed, and the plans for these pension reforms should be immediately withdrawn.”
The impact of the strike has already rippled throughout society, with railways, public transport, schools, hospitals, and grocery chains largely deserted.
Attempts to reform the French pension system have long been met with severe criticism from French society and stiff resistance from the labour movement. With at least 90 percent of regional rail trains cancelled, 11 out of 16 Parisian metro lines shut, and many schools closed, French workers are taking to the streets to voice their strong opposition to the reforms.
French unions are adamant that if President Macron does not withdraw his proposal, there will be more strikes and massive demonstrations, bringing the county to a standstill.
Head of UNI Commerce, Mathias Bolton noted that many retail unions have also joined the general strike in shops around the country, “The scale of action against Macron’s reforms sends a clear message – the reforms are wildly unpopular with working people and should be dropped as soon as possible.”