The French are called on this Saturday, March 11 to demonstrate for a seventh day against a very unpopular pension reform and wanted by Emmanuel Macron, against a backdrop of persistent strikes, a test day for the continuation of the showdown between the government and the unions.
This is the seventh day of action since January 19 against this pension reform wanted by French President Emmanuel Macron and his postponement of the legal retirement age from 62 to 64 years old. The French are, according to the polls, mostly hostile, judging her ” unfair » especially for women and workers in arduous jobs.
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Friday, the Minister of Labor, Olivier Dussopt, drew the constitutional weapon, the article of 44.3 of the Constitution, of the single vote before the Senate, which will have to decide by a single vote on the whole of the bill. , retaining only the amendments proposed or accepted by the government – approximately 70 in number for the rest of the articles under discussion.
Even without a debate or a vote on the thousand remaining amendments, the latter can however simply be presented by their authors. A way to save time, and to give hope to the left that the text ” not be voted on before the deadline scheduled for Sunday at midnight. ” We had together 74 hours of debates “Since February 2 and, ” with each article, despite substantive discussions, obstruction has become a methodical choice “, estimated Mr. Dussopt.
A symbolic reform for Emmanuel Macron
Reacting to this decision, the CGT Energie warned against a “ escalation of anger “. For his part, in a letter to the intersyndicale dated Thursday, Emmanuel Macron declared to the unions that the government remained “ listening on this reform, while emphasizing that it was necessary. The French government has chosen to raise the legal retirement age in response to the financial deterioration of pension funds and the aging of the population.
The French president plays an important part of his political credit on this flagship measure of his second five-year term, a symbol of his declared desire to reform, but which today crystallizes the discontent of some of the French against him. Emmanuel Macron, however, confirmed his firmness by not agreeing to meet the unions, believing that the time had come to “ parliamentary time “, after the “consultations carried out” by Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne and the adjustments already made to the text.
Friday afternoon, he also said that the pension reform should go to his “ term in Parliament, implying that he was not ruling out anything, including the use of adoption without a vote via Article 49.3 of the Constitution (which allows the government to pass legislation without a vote by engaging its responsibility).
Still strong protest in the country
Across the country, the protest remains strong, even if France has not been put ” off » as the unions wanted. Uncertainty remains on the question of whether the blockades and renewable strikes taking place since Tuesday and affecting key sectors of the economy (transport, energy, etc.) will continue. AT Paris, garbage cans accumulate in certain districts, with 3 700 tons of waste not collected Thursday, according to the town hall.
The French air transport authority has asked airlines to cancel 20% of their flights scheduled for Saturday and Sunday at several airports, due to a strike by air traffic controllers. On the rail side, the national company SNCF expected traffic to continue “ strongly disturbed » Friday and weekends. Fabrice Coudour, federal secretary of the CGT Eenergy, said Friday that the strikes were continuing, particularly in the power plants. The gas workers’ strike is also continuing at all LNG terminals and gas storage facilities.
France is one of the European countries where the legal retirement age is the lowest, without the pension systems being completely comparable.
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