(Paris) The eighth day of demonstrations and strikes in France against a very unpopular pension reform, wanted by Emmanuel Macron, saw a significantly lower mobilization, Wednesday on the eve of the submission of the text to the vote of the two assemblies.
The French president meets in the evening his Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne and some of the main ministers concerned by the reform.
But he does not plan “at this stage” to have it adopted without a vote by a 49.3, the article of the constitution which allows a text to be adopted without a vote, we learned from concordant sources in the presidential camp. .
Deputies and senators reached an agreement on Wednesday on a common version of the disputed project, with the most decried measure, the postponement to 64 of the legal retirement age.
Thursday, this text will be submitted to the vote of the Senate, where the right-wing and centrist majority should unsurprisingly approve it, then to the National Assembly, where the presidential camp does not have an absolute majority. There, the vote is uncertain: if the right-wing Les Républicains party says it wants to adopt the reform, many rebels in its ranks maintain the suspense.
“I say to parliamentarians, do not vote for this law, it is disconnected from the concrete reality of work”, launched Wednesday Laurent Berger, secretary general of the reformist union CFDT.
The inter-union “solemnly calls on parliamentarians to vote against the bill”. The eight main French unions will hold a press conference in front of the National Assembly on Thursday to try to influence the vote one last time.
Since January 19, millions of French people have already demonstrated to express their refusal of this reform, Wednesday having been the 8e mobilization day.
The decline in the legal retirement age from 62 to 64 crystallizes the anger. Opponents of this reform consider it “unfair”, especially for women and employees in difficult jobs.
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.
France is one of the European countries where the legal retirement age is the lowest, although the different pension systems are not completely comparable.
A total of 480,000 people marched in France on Wednesday, including 37,000 in Paris, against the pension reform at the call of the unions, according to a count by the Ministry of the Interior.
For this 8e mobilization day, the CGT union counted 1.78 million demonstrators. Last Saturday, 368,000 people marched in France, according to the Interior Ministry, including 48,000 in Paris.
Waste piled up in Paris
On the tenth day of strikes by garbage collectors opposed to this reform in the streets of Paris, the accumulation of garbage cans in this world capital of tourism has worsened further, with more than 7,600 tonnes of waste cluttering the sidewalks, according to the town hall.
The garbage collectors and cleaning agents of the City of Paris voted Tuesday evening to continue the strike “at least until March 20”.
In addition to waste collection in several cities in France, renewable strikes continue in several key sectors.
The strikers from the CGT Énergie union have thus threatened to lower the pressure in the gas networks, otherwise the strikers will take care of it, which could deprive power plants and certain industrial customers of gas.
The employees of four French LNG terminals and 11 storage sites have renewed their strike until the beginning of next week.
Several refineries were still on strike and rail and air transport remained disrupted.
President Macron plays a significant part of his political credit on this reform, a flagship measure of his second five-year term and a symbol of his stated desire to reform, but which crystallizes the discontent of some of the French against him.