France faces massive demonstrations and strikes that could spread to strategic directions
French trade unions are mobilizing all their forces in the fight against the reform of the pension system, organizing mass demonstrations and strikes that can be expanded in strategic sectors, betting on the “destruction” of the country in order to force the government to abandon its project.
One of the main provisions of the reform, which President Emmanuel Macron intends to approve, is to raise the retirement age from the current 62 years to 64 years; This is the center of the protests.
The Senate bill brought millions of French people to the streets and sparked heated debate in the National Assembly.
The government has so far refused to abandon its project, despite five days of protests organized to date. While eight major French unions and five youth organizations vowed on Tuesday to do everything in their power to paralyze the country to force the government to abandon its plan.
Unions are seeking to mobilize more protesters than the January 31 demonstrations, when police counted 1.27 million participants, compared to more than 2.5 million for union associations.
A police source expected 1.1 to 1.4 million demonstrators to take to the streets; Including from 60 to 90 thousand in Paris.
Philippe Martinez, president of the General Confederation of Labor (CGT), one of France’s largest trade unions, confirmed that mobilization is “moving to a higher level” in statements to the Journal du Dimanche.
Urban transport and trains are expected to be in great turmoil after all unions called for a lengthy strike at the National Railways (SNCF) and the Paris Autonomous Transport Authority (RTB), which controls metro trains in the capital. March.
Clement Bonn, transport minister, warned on Friday that “the seventh of the month will be very difficult,” calling for teleworking for those who can.
“Pull the Fix”
In terms of air traffic, the General Directorate of Civil Aviation has asked airlines to cancel 20 to 30 percent of their flights on Tuesday and Wednesday in anticipation of an air traffic controller strike.
The General Confederation of Labor called on other professional groups to strike, which could be extended “until the reform is canceled”, directing its appeal to oil refinery workers, electrical and gas engineers, waste collectors, port workers, glass and ceramic workers and others.
Emmanuel Lépin, general secretary of the CGT syndicate in the chemical sector, expressed his willingness to “bring the French economy to its knees” to get his demand.
Trade unions also expect unusual moves. Such as stopping workshops, closing shops, opening toll booths, blocking roads, and others.
There will be more moves this week, in parallel with the Senate debate due to end on Friday.
International Women’s Rights Day falls on March 8 this year under the slogan of reforming the pension system, which is unfair to women, as it may negatively affect mothers who have reached the age of sixty-two years and who receive additional chapters at retirement age commensurately. with the maternity period of their lives. However, it can be “cancelled” by raising the retirement age to 64 years.
The student movements also announced a mobilization day on the ninth of the month. Jean-Luc Mélenchon, leader of the French Rebel Party (radical left), urged the youth on Friday evening, saying: “Obstruct everything you can.”
This time the union leaders are awaiting a response from the government after many successful mobilizations.
“The first result on March 7 will be a political declaration by the government or the President of the Republic,” Yvan Ricordo, national secretary of the French Confederation of Democratic Labor (CFDT), told AFP.
On Monday evening, Prime Minister Elizabeth Bourne will deliver a televised address.
Olivier Dussopp, Labor Minister, defended a “leftist reform” on Saturday night in which “there will be no losers”; Meanwhile, the Minister of State Accounts, Gabriel Attal, raised his tone, condemning the strikes that would hurt the “hard-working” French.