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Friday, September 22, 2023

France: Macron’s Move to Change the Official Retirement Age Creates Havoc

The strikes have disrupted the normal functioning of all services, including transport and school in France

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Hrishita Chatterjee
Hrishita Chatterjee
Covering culture and trending topics

FRANCE: Nearly 80,000 protesters have taken to the streets in Paris, allying demonstrations in approximately 200 French cities, including Nantes, Lyon Bordeaux, Marseille, and Toulouse, against France’s new law deeming to increase the retirement age from 62 to 64 to make the workers pay into the pension system for a longer duration. 

New law of retirement age led to massive protests in France

The strikes have disrupted the normal functioning of all services, including transport and school in France. Barely 10 services were running on rail lines, whereas the Paris metro had been reported empty. 65% of the teachers were on strike, as reported by the main secondary education union. 

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With a steep decrease in the workers and workers retired ratio, the government of France announced that such a retirement reform is important. From four workers per retiree 50 years back, the ratio has dwindled to about 1.7 per retiree today. The law that, if voted, will necessitate people working for 43 years instead of 42 to deserve a full pension.

All unions in the country, including the “reformist” union and the left-wing and far-right oppositions, have opposed the measure. President Emmanuel Macron would have to rely on the support of 60 MPs of the Conservative Republic party as the Renaissance party does not have a majority in the Assembly. 

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Frustrations prevail amongst people on the government’s inadequacy in taking care of inflation and the energy crisis. The closing down of public services has created panic and has left a lot of people helpless. 

In an attempt to make the people work longer, President Macron had called for the principle of “inter-generational solidarity” to make people work more time. The pensions of those retired are extracted from the common fund to which the workers are contributing. 

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The opposition has claimed that there is no urgency to act at the moment as the system is not the deficit. It says that the poorest would suffer a lot, given they start working early in life and are entitled to get a full pension by the time they reach 62. 

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