News World Unions urge Macron to ‘pause’ his pension reform

Unions urge Macron to ‘pause’ his pension reform

Photo: AFP.

France’s top union leader urged liberal President Emmanuel Macron on Friday to “pause” his unpopular pension reform, a day after massive demonstrations against the initiative stopped 457 detainees, 441 police officers injured and various acts of violence.

The tension reached a new level this Thursday, with a fire at the access to the Bordeaux city hall (southwest), “scenes of chaos” in Rennes (west), water cannons in Lille (north) and Toulouse (south) and riots in the streets of Paris.

“I propose that there be a time for listening, dialogue and putting the pension reform on hold,” asked Laurent Berger, leader of the French Democratic Confederation of Labor (CFDT), one of the unions that yesterday managed to convene more than a million people in the streets.

The objective of the union front is the withdrawal of the reform which delays the retirement age from 62 to 64 years and advances to 2027 the requirement to contribute 43 years (and not 42 as before) to collect a full pension.

AFP photo
Photo: AFP.

Berger asked for “six months to examine (…) how to get things back on track”, after Macron opted to adopt his reform by decree, fearing he would lose the vote in Parliament.

Since thenHundreds of people, mostly young people, walk the streets of Paris and other cities at night, burning garbage containers and pallets in their path, in full tension with the police, accused of exercising excessive violence.

In an interview he gave on Wednesday, The French president said he “assumed” the “unpopularity” of his reform and charged against the opposition, the unions and the “seditious” radical protesters, which raised the temperature even more.

AFP photo
Photo: AFP.

A total of 457 people were arrested and 441 police officers and gendarmes were injured yesterday, said Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin, who denounced the “radicalization” of certain protesters and charged against the “extreme left”, reported the AFP news agency.

The government defends that the reform, which it wants to be in force “by the end of the year” after the eventual final approval of the Constitutional Council, seeks to avoid a future “deficit” in the pension fund.

AFP photo
Photo: AFP.

Waiting for a solution to the social conflict, the opposition and the unions maintain their fight: between this Friday and the weekend there will be new train services and flights cancelled, while the strike continues at refineries and among the personnel in charge of pick up the garbage in Paris.

The unions called a new day of protests on March 28a date that in principle coincided with the visit of King Carlos III to France, but which was finally postponed due to the demonstrations.

Carlos III postpones his official trip to France due to the protests against the pension reform

The official visit of British King Charles III to France has been postponed due to protests against President Emmanuel Macron’s unpopular pension reform, the French government said today.

“The French and British governments, after a telephone conversation between the president and the king this morning, made this decision to welcome His Majesty King Charles III under the conditions that correspond to our friendly relationship,” the French presidency said in a statement. release.

The royal couple “looks forward with great interest to the opportunity to visit France as soon as dates can be found,” Buckingham Palace said shortly after, quoted by the AFP news agency.

According to a spokesman for the British Executive from London, the decision was made at the request of Macron.

Carlos III planned to start his first trip abroad in France since his accession to the throne after the death of his mother Elizabeth II.

On Monday he was scheduled to participate in a tribute at the Arc de Triomphe and a dinner at the Palace of Versailles, before traveling to Bordeaux (southwest) on Tuesday.

However, the unions’ call for a new mobilization on Tuesday against the pension reform led London and Paris to postpone the visit to an as yet unconfirmed date.

The tension reached a new level yesterday, with a fire at the access to the Bordeaux city hall, “scenes of chaos” in Rennes (west), water cannons in Lille (north) and Toulouse (south) and riots in the streets of Paris, among others.

The British government had said yesterday “not to be aware of any change in plans”, despite the fact that the unions had threatened to disrupt the royal visit, especially during his time in Bordeaux.

Macron has faced strong opposition since January to his plan to delay the retirement age from 62 to 64 by 2030 and to bring forward to 2027 the requirement to contribute 43 years, instead of 42, to collect a full pension.

The protests hardened on March 16, when the president announced his decision to take out his reform by decree, fearing he would lose the vote in Parliament.

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