France faces ‘standstill’ in protests against pensions overhaul

PARIS-France’s trade unions were headed for a crucial face-off with President Emmanuel Macron on Tuesday, with fresh strikes and protests planned against a controversial pensions reform he has championed. Unions have vowed to bring the country to a standstill over the proposed changes, which include raising the retirement age from 62 to 64 and increasing the number of years workers have to make contributions for a full pension.

“I call on all the country’s employees, citizens and retirees who are against the pensions reform to come out and protest en masse,” the head of the CFDT union Laurent Berger told the France Inter radio station Monday. “The president cannot remain deaf” to the protests, he added. “There is today a huge social movement... and it will need a political response.”

The president put the plan at the centre of his re-election campaign last year, and his cabinet says the changes are essential to prevent the pensions system from falling into deficit in coming years.


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