The eight main unions in France announced this Wednesday that they reached an agreement to carry out a new day of strike and demonstrations next Thursday, February 16, against the resisted pension reform promoted by President Emmanuel Macron that seeks to raise the retirement age.
“The inter-union, meeting on this day, decided on a national day of inter-professional action on February 16,” declared Dominique Corona, deputy general secretary of the National Union of Autonomous Unions (UNSA), on behalf of the inter-union entity, the news agency reported. AFP.
The unions try to show, at a time when the reform began its parliamentary process, that the rejection movement maintains its strength in the streets.
This Tuesday during the third day of mobilization, hundreds of thousands of people -757,000 according to the Ministry of the Interior, more than two million according to the organizers- they took to the streets to demonstrate against the reform, with strikes in public transport, education and the supply of energy and fuel.
The French Executive promotes the reform and ensures that it is necessary to avoid a future deficit in the pension fund and to bring the retirement age in France, one of the lowest in the European Union (EU), closer to that of its neighbors .
Parliament has already begun to debate the questioned bill, which contemplates the progressive delay of the retirement age from 62 to 64 years from now to 2030 and the advancement to 2027 of the requirement to contribute 43 years -and not 42 as now- to collect a full pension.
Supported by high numbers of rejection of the measure and after the largest demonstration against a social reform in three decades on January 31, the unions wage their battle with strikes and peaceful protests.
The train service and public transport in Paris were “disturbed”although less than in previous protests, while one flight in five had to be canceled at the Parisian Orly airport, authorities reported.
The state electricity company EDF said that the protests caused the temporary reduction of electricity supplieswithout causing blackouts.
More than half the workforce was on strike at TotalEnergies refineriesthe company added in a statement.
The Ministry of Education detailed that about 13% of teachers were on strikea decrease compared to the day of protest last week.
For the moment, the parliamentary relationship of forces does not favor the demands of the unions.
On Monday, during the first day of plenary debate in the Assembly (Lower House), 292 deputies voted against and 243 in favor of a motion from the left that asked to withdraw the project.
Although the controversial reform was an electoral promise by Macron, observers estimate that his re-election in 2022 was due in large part to voters’ desire to avoid the victory of his rival in the runoff, the far-right Marine Le Pen.
Weeks later, the ruling party lost its absolute majority in the Assembly.
Now he is seeking the votes of the right-wing opposition of Los Republicanos (LR) to approve the reform, in the face of the refusal of Le Pen and the left.
The Government, determined to carry out the reform despite popular rejection, used a parliamentary procedure that limits the time for debate in the Assembly and in the Senate.
The Government, determined to carry out the reform despite popular rejection, used a parliamentary procedure that limits the time for debate in the Assembly and in the Senate
After the pandemic forced the withdrawal of a first attempt, the Government chose a maneuver that allows it to apply the current plan if the two Houses of Parliament do not rule by March 26.
Since Macron came to power in 2017, his liberal reforms have earned him an image of “president of the rich”as during the social protest of the yellow vests, the social movement that shook France and neighboring countries in 2018 in demand for better wages.