Paris. The mobilization in France against the unpopular pension reform of the liberal president Emmanuel Macron entered a new phase yesterday by registering its biggest protest in the streets and the start of an extendable strike in key sectors.
Some 1.28 million people, according to the government (3.5 million, according to the CGT union) participated in the largest protest against social reform in three decades. This balance is slightly higher than that of January 31, when between 1.27 million people (according to the police) and 2.8 million (CGT) mobilized.
The sixth day of mobilization against the hardening of the conditions to access a full pension was, on the other hand, bittersweet for the organizers, as fewer strikers registered in the public sector than at the beginning, on January 19.
At the end of the day, the union front asked Macron for an “urgent” meeting, because his “silence is no longer possible”, and called a new protest on Saturday and another next week (probably on Wednesday), coinciding with key moments of the parliamentary process of the project.
“We will not give up. We have to impact the government so that it gives in,” said Patrick, a 61-year-old railway retiree, who demonstrated in the rain in Calais (north).
The unions also supported the demonstrations called for Wednesday on the occasion of International Women’s Day and Thursday, at the call of the students, two of the groups they consider to be among the most harmed by the reform.
Macron is gambling part of his political credit, after the pandemic forced him to abandon a previous reform during his first term, also marked by the social protest of the “yellow vests”.
Two out of three French people, according to polls, oppose his plan to delay the retirement age from 62 to 64 by 2030 and bring forward to 2027 the requirement to contribute 43 years (and not 42, as now) to collect a pension complete.