Last gas strike seeks to sabotage French pension reform

Uncollected trash clogged the streets on Wednesday in the French capital as trade unions held their first bid in 11 hours to block the passage of a highly unpopular pension reform.

Opinion polls show that about two-thirds of French citizens want a law to raise the retirement age from 62 to 64, extend contributions to the full pension and abolish some special privileges for public sector employees. has been shown to be against

But despite two months of protests and cross-sectoral strikes, the bill defended by President Emmanuel Macron appears to be on the verge of passing parliament.

Several demonstrations began across France on Wednesday, including in the northern city of Calais and the southwestern city of Bordeaux, in a new day of strikes and protests.

Police were expecting between 650,000 and 850,000 demonstrators across the country, sources said, speaking on condition of anonymity, which is far less than last week’s largest rally.

The strike appeared limited compared to previous nationwide actions, but workers in some sectors persisted in refusing to change.

So far, the most visible effect of the confrontation is the pile of garbage on the streets of Paris. In Paris, municipal garbage collectors and cleaners have stopped working since early last week.

About 7,000 tons of garbage have piled up on the pavement in about half the city, worrying foreign tourists and restaurateurs.

– ‘smell’ –

At lunchtime on Wednesday in a nearly empty cafe in central Paris, manager Gregory Brault, 38, said there was a noticeable drop in customers.

“People don’t want to eat on the terrace opposite the trash can. It smells,” he said.

He said he went to work an hour early every day to clean up the trash at his front door, but the black garbage bags piled up in his neighborhood still kept office workers and tourists away.

Recently, people in the area have started finding rats.

“If they come in tomorrow and I get a health check, they will lock me out,” he said.

Even in the other half of Paris, where private companies still handle garbage, collection is complicated by two major incinerators outside the capital going on strike.

Street sweepers voted on Tuesday to extend the strike until next Monday, and Interior Minister Gerard Dalmanin called on the capital’s municipalities to order them back to work.

Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo countered that she “has no authority” or intends to.

In other sectors, power plant workers went on strike after recently cutting output out of fear of losing their privileges if reforms were successful.

However, there were fewer subway and high-speed train suspensions than the day before, and the protest movement seemed to be fading away in transportation.

Saturday’s final day of protests saw a much lower voter turnout than in previous rounds, and last week’s strike did not paralyze the country as unions had hoped.

– Minority Government –

A congressional committee began considering retirement plans Wednesday morning ahead of a joint vote from the House and Senate that could take place as early as Thursday.

The main question is whether Macron’s minority government will be able to gather the necessary number of votes in parliament, which needs the support of the opposition Republican Party (LR) to pass the bill.

President Macron’s main proposal is to bring France more in line with its EU neighbors, most of which lower the retirement age to 65 or older.

While the government initially claimed it was aimed at making the system fairer, it now emphasizes that it was aimed at saving and avoiding deficits for decades to come.

On Tuesday, Prime Minister Elizabeth Born appealed to LR MPs, who have long supported pension reform, claiming a majority in parliament supports the change.

But if she fails to find a viable majority in the House, she can use the constitutional powers contained in Article 49(3) of the Constitution to enforce legislation without a vote. increase.

Analysts warn that this would rob her and Macron of their democratic legitimacy and expose the government to a vote of confidence.


first published as Last gas strike seeks to sabotage French pension reform

Last gas strike seeks to sabotage French pension reform

Source link Last gas strike seeks to sabotage French pension reform

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