French workers left in last-ditch bid to stop change to increase pension age – – Our News, Your Views

French workers left in last-ditch bid to stop change to increase pension age

Left-wing forces and French unions are set to stage another day of strike action today in an attempt to derail President Emmanuel Macron’s pension reforms, insisting the fight against the changes will not be terminated even after the changes take effect, reports RTE.

Hundreds of thousands of people are expected to take to the streets on the 14th day since January to demonstrate against the reform.

Mr Macron signed into law a bill raising the retirement age from 62 to 64 in April, after the government rolled out a controversial but legal mechanism to thwart a parliamentary vote he stood to lose.

Raising the retirement age, designed to bolster the long-term finances of struggling France, was a key promise of his second and final term, and its smooth implementation is seen by his supporters as crucial to his legacy.

Opponents are pinning their hopes on a motion tabled by the small Liot faction in parliament and widely backed by the left to repeal the law and raise the retirement age.

Speaker of Parliament Yael Braun-Pivet, a member of President Macron’s party but officially neutral, was due to decide last Thursday whether parliament could vote on raising the retirement age to 62.

“For our fellow citizens, a new denial of democracy will only lead to increased disaffection for our institutions, which is already manifesting itself in the form of growing abstentionism, and even an increase in anger and violence,” Le Monde newspaper write yesterday, reports RTE.

A limited strike disruption is scheduled for today

Authorities expect up to 600,000 people to attend nationwide protests today, less than half the peak on March 7, when police numbered 1.28 million.

Unlike the previous phase of the movement, limited disruption to public transport is expected, although some flight cancellations are expected, notably at Orly airport in Paris.

“The defeat has not been enacted,” Green MP Sandrine Rousseau told Radio J, warning that “we will raise our voices” if the parliament vote is not allowed, reports RTE.

The fight against pension reform “will never finish”, far-left leader Jean-Luc Mélenchon told the daily 20 Minutes.

But President Macron’s allies say the game is long over for opponents of the reform, even if it remains largely unpopular with the public.

The opposition “knows very well that this motion has no future,” Prisca Thévenot, deputy of Macron’s Renaissance party, told LCI television on Sunday.

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