What’s next in the fight over France’s pension reform?

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French trade unions have vowed to stall France with a new March 7 strike as they continue to fight President Emmanuel Macron’s disputed pension reforms. The strike and protests are in his sixth day of the year and are expected to be the largest yet.

After 6 weeks, 5 strikes and countless arguments suggestion has been announced and both sides are delving into it.

President Macron said this week that his plans to raise the retirement age in France from 62 to 64 and increase the number of years people have to pay into the system before they can receive their pensions are just common sense.

“Overall, we know people have to work a little longer on average, otherwise they won’t be able to adequately fund their pensions.” seeing him for the first time in weeks.

It came as the industrial action that had roiled France since the end of January was lulled – but that doesn’t mean French unions have given up the fight.

tactical pause

The last three cross-sectoral strikes and demonstrations took place within 10 days on February 7th, 11th and 16th.

Last seen of these reduced mobilizationMany schools were closed on holidays, and teachers and transport workers went on strike.

There is also the danger of fatigue. Too much confusion or too close together can erode the public good will of the union. Their approval rating is currently at 47 percent, according to. Pole RTL Radio, released this week, is 3 points higher than in early February, but still far from overwhelming support.

The decision to postpone the next strike until March 7th is a tactical one. It takes place immediately after the last school in France returns from winter break, reducing the risk of interrupting the holiday.

If the approximately 1.3 million people officially said to have taken part in the largest demonstration to date can match or outnumber the protests, after about three weeks of inaction, the unions will turn their backs on them. It can also be argued that the claim has staying power.

And it says it will “take a while” for legislators to react. Laurent Bergerpresident of the CFDT, France’s largest trade union.

The strike will be the first since the pension reform bill was passed by the Senate. painstaking discussion The National Assembly, the lower house of the French parliament, ended last week without reaching a vote.

The Senate is scheduled to begin debating the reform bill on February 27, and a joint committee of both houses should agree on the final version of the bill on March 15.

“Everything Must Stop Anywhere”

As the deadline loomed, the unions promised a tougher fight.

Hard-line CGT union president Pierre Martinez called for the strike to be “harder, more, bigger and rolling”, but far-left leaders invincible france Republican Jean-Luc Mélenchon declared: Everything must stop everywhere. ”

But Berger, whose CFDT unions are more moderate than some allies, stresses that joint mobilization does not require a general strike or a strike lasting longer than 24 hours (although individual unions may withdraw for longer). can decide).

“We are calling for a halt to the country, not a lockdown. On March 7th we need to act with dignity and respect, but it will take more work.” he told europe Radio earlier this week.

This day is likely to test your exercise approach. Stick to one-day action or resort to more devastating rolling strikes.

mobilization for several days

The strike is set to be over in part one day, as trade unions representing the chemical sector, including oil refinery workers, have called for a phased strike after 6 March.

Strike notices to waste collectors and Paris public transport workers, who are set to go on strike on March 7, could also be renewed in the days afterward.

Meanwhile, some unions have indicated that they are planning some form of protest in line with this. International Women’s Day March 8th.

Working women, who are more likely to devote time to raising children, will be particularly affected by proposals to increase the minimum contribution period calculated by the government itself. Mandatory extension of retirement age for womenon average, than men.

Teachers have so far said the strike will only take place on March 7, but the youth movement is calling on college and high school students to strike. go out on march 9 To highlight the impact of reforms on young people.

However, no date has yet been set for further cross-sectoral national strikes. That too depends on what happens on March 7th. What’s next in the fight over France’s pension reform?

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