What to expect from France’s ‘Black Thursday’ strike on pension reform

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A powerful cross-sectoral strike aimed at overthrowing French President Emmanuel Macron’s pension reforms is on track to wreak havoc this Thursday.

The day of action has been described as a full-blown test for French unions, who have come together for the first time in 12 years to “totally oppose” the government’s plan to raise the retirement age from 62 to 64.

Eight major trade unions (CFDT, CGT, FO, CFE-CGC, CFTC, Unsa, Solidaires and FSU) want an immediate reversal of the “unfair and unnecessary” reforms. full pension.

Left-wing parties, from the Greens and Communists to the Socialists and the French Indomitable Party, are all throwing their support behind the strike.

Trade unions are calling for massive mobilization from both the public and private sectors, and hope the French public, who polls show overwhelmingly against reform, will join street protests across the country. increase.

“This is the first strike and it means there will be other attacks,” said the head of Philip Martinez. Hard-line CGT Union.

“We expect millions to strike and demonstrate because this reform affects everyone.”

Broad strike notice

But it remains to be seen how well the call to strike will be heeded by different professions and whether the unions will succeed in getting more people out onto the streets than before. December 2019 – when reform was shelved due to the pandemic.

So far, the transport, energy, oil, education and health sectors have confirmed their participation in the strike.

Traffic forecasts from SNCF national rail operator and RATP transport authority in Paris will not be available until a day or two in advance – CGT-RATP union said ‘zero traffic’ is the goal

Meanwhile, truck drivers, couriers and delivery companies have filed strike notices.

The FSU Teachers Union, which had already started calling for a strike on January 17, condemned the “brutal and unjust measures” when it announced its intention to join the general strike. bottom.

The Energy Union says it expects a large turnout on Jan. 19 and plans to meet three days in advance to decide on a “battle plan.”

The CGT-FNME Mines and Energy Union has warned of possible power outages and maintenance delays at its power plants, but has promised customers will not be penalized.

Confirming that oil refinery workers will also bring the tools down, the CGT-Petroleum Union has urged employees to increase and intensify their strike action over the next few weeks.

Unions plan a 24-hour strike on January 19, a 48-hour strike on January 26 and a three-day strike starting February 6, paving the way for a possible shutdown of the refinery. .

Industrial action can also be seen in hospitals. Striking health workers will still have to work, but the impact of the strike can affect patient care, especially in emergency rooms, due to transport disruptions. What to expect from France’s ‘Black Thursday’ strike on pension reform

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