France lives this Tuesday its second national strike against the pension reform of the Government of Emmanuel Macron. The unions expect a mobilization at least equivalent to that of the 19th, which was attended by more than two million protesters, according to their calculations, to make the Executive twist the arm in its flagship project.
The authorities have deployed up to 11,000 agents across the country fearing that small groups of violent radicals could cause riots.
Some have been summoned 250 rallies and marches since ten in the morning, as reported by the general secretary of the CGT, Philippe Martinez. “If the Prime Minister has not heard the message, today we will tell her louder, louder and more numerous,” he said.
The strike is being very popular in the transport sector, with traffic on the metro and RER suburban trains “very disturbed” in the Paris region. The situation is even more difficult for regional and intercity trains. And only a third of the high-speed trains (TGV) will circulate, on average.
On international rail lines there will be almost normal traffic on the Eurostars to London and on the Thalys to Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany, but the two trains in each direction of the Paris-Barcelona corridor have been cancelled.
Regarding air traffic, the rings of air traffic controllers have forced cancel 20% of flights with departure or destination at the Parisian airport of Orly.
But the mobilization affects various professional sectors. In Nîmes, the entrances to the prison were blocked and the extraction of prisoners was made impossible, according to a union source.
Students also demonstrated in some cities, and teachers’ unions have planned 50% strikes among teachersfrom preschool to high school.
The CGT has announced strikes of 75 to 100% in the refineries and warehouses of TotalEnergies.
At six o’clock in the afternoon a meeting of the unions is scheduled at the headquarters of Fuerza Obrera (FO) to decide the next steps of the movement, and probably announce at least one new day of mobilization.
Against raising the retirement age
The unions intend with this day of mobilizations to force the French Government to withdraw its reform, which foresees delay the minimum retirement age from 62 to 64 years and advance to 2027 the extension to 43 years (currently 42) of the contribution period necessary to collect a full pension.
They know that they have public opinion on their side, since all opinion polls show a very large majority of French opposition to the project (61% according to a poll published today by the economic newspaper Les Echos).
Despite the pressure, the Prime Minister, Élisabeth Borne, made it clear last Sunday in an interview that the two star measures of the reform “are not negotiable.”
The text began to be studied this Monday in commission in the National Assembly, where the parties of the left and the extreme right are opposed, although the government bloc hopes to receive the necessary support from the conservatives to move it forward.
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