Macron announces pension reform, unions riot

French President Emmanuel Macron’s unpopular reforms to raise the retirement age have infuriated unions, which have called for months of mass protests to continue. The law’s publication in the government’s official gazette came hours after the French Constitutional Council approved the measure in a decision yesterday. The law, which will gradually increase the minimum age for retirement from 62 to 64, will come into effect on 1 September. “Pension reform has come to the end of its democratic path,” Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne said today. The National Renaissance Council is President Macron’s party.

The swift promulgation of the law angered unions, who urged the government to hold off to de-escalate tensions. “This is an absolutely shameful decision,” Sophie Binet, head of the CGT union, told radio Franceinfo. (Macron “slammed the door in our faces once again.” Unions urged workers to join the May Day marches en masse. While Binet said other actions would take place on April 20 and 28, railroad workers’ unions called for a day. Rtl and Aef by the Toluna Harris Interactive observatory. According to a poll for Info, 60% of French people want the unions to continue the call for mobilization, while opposing the law, more than two out of three French people are in favor of the idea of ​​unions meeting with Macron.

Labor Minister Olivier Dussopt downplayed the timing of the law’s enactment, telling France Culture radio that the government wanted to discuss other social issues with the unions. On Friday evening, after the Constitutional Council’s decision was announced, crowds marched through Paris and burned trash cans. The entrance to a police station in the northwestern city of Rennes was set on fire. Public hostility has grown since the government, which does not have a majority in Parliament, passed the bill with only one vote in the Senate in March, without a final vote in the House. Macron, whose invitation to a union meeting was rejected on Tuesday, will deliver a televised speech on Monday evening.

The president has attributed his reputation as a reformer to changes in pensions, which he says are necessary to avoid deficits of billions of euros each year by the end of the decade. The unions argue that the extra funds could be found elsewhere, including levying heavier taxes on the rich to protect one of the cornerstones of the French social protection model. François Ruffin, MP from the left-wing La France Insoumise party, accused the government of declaring the pension law “like night thieves” on Twitter. Opposition parties have filed another demand for a popular referendum on reform, after the Constitutional Council rejected such an initial proposal on Friday.

Source: Today IT