Left Menu
Development News Edition

Despite renewed strikes, France pushes on with pension plan


Despite renewed strikes, France pushes on with pension plan

Paris, Jan 24 (AP) Women workers danced in protest and striking Eiffel Tower employees shuttered France's most famed monument Friday — but the government pushed ahead anyway with a troubled bill redesigning the national retirement system. It's President Emmanuel Macron's signature reform, aimed at streamlining an increasingly costly system that allows some people to retire as early as their 50s.

But it has unleashed 50 days of strikes and new protests in Paris and other cities Friday by unions who see it as an attack on hard-won worker rights, and France's way of life. Macron's government struggled Friday to sell the plan to a skeptical public after the Cabinet approved two bills aimed at enshrining the changes.

The bills leave many questions unanswered, and government ministers dodged questions about a central concern: whether the retirement age will go up, and by how much. Currently French people who have worked a full career can retire with a full pension at 62.

As the Cabinet met in the Elysee presidential palace, protesters marched along the Seine River past the nearby Louvre Museum, demanding that the government scrap the plan altogether. "We're against change when it's damaging to us, against change that goes against social progress in society. It's normal for us to show we're opposed to it," said François Hommeril, head of the CFE-CGC union.

A group of women workers, dressed in blue work shirts and yellow gloves like the "Rosie the Riveter" figure immortalised in US wartime posters, danced and sang to complain that the reform unfairly hurts women. "The idea was to show everyone, in a playful and fun way with our dance, that those who have the most to lose ... are women," Valérie Lefebvre-Hausmann, a bank employee and union leader, told The Associated Press.

The government insists the new system will be more fair than the old one, including for women. Travelers faced renewed disruptions on regional trains and the Paris subway, and some schools and other public services also faced walkouts. The Eiffel Tower closed exceptionally, and the Versailles chateau and Louvre Museum warned visitors of potential disruptions.

The number of striking workers and halted trains dropped considerably this week after the government made a series of concessions. But unions hope Friday's actions will revive opposition to the reform. The bills go next month to parliament, where Macron's centrist party has a large majority and is all but sure to approve it.

The plan will streamline France's 42 retirement systems into a single points-based system for all workers, public and private sector alike, and abolish special provisions for some workers. It will also introduce a minimum pension.

The new points system will come into place starting in 2022 for the youngest workers, and then gradually for older workers. It will only affect those born after 1974. The government backed down earlier this month on plans to raise the age to receive a full pension to 64, at least for now.

Instead, Prime Minister Edouard Philippe agreed to negotiate with unions starting next week on a way to make the new retirement system financially sustainable — and that's likely to require eventually raising the retirement age. The government has also negotiated deals with various sectors – including pilots, members of the military and police — who will still be able to retire earlier than others.

Macron argues that the old system was unfair, outdated and too costly for a country with growing life expectancy. Over the past three decades, governments have made changes to the retirement system, but each reform has been met with massive demonstrations — and none managed to simplify it. (AP) IND

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

Download The Devdiscourse News App for Latest News.


TRENDING

OPINION/BLOG/INTERVIEW

Future of Food: Technology fostering the road to global food security

Technological innovation can help address most of the pressing issues facing the world today including food security by enhancing productivity, improving financial services, managing resources, addressing environmental concerns, etc....

Conspiracy theories on COVID 19: Legislators, Scientists, and Journalists all joined the Caravan

Conspiracy theories are not new for virus epidemics. There have been conspiracy theories on HIV-AIDS, Polio Vaccines, Ebola Virus, and several other diseases as well. However, what makes the 2019 Novel Coronavirus different from others is ...

Now it’s a war, Uganda deploys army to combat locust swarms

Its for the first time after 1986, the locust swarms have attacked Uganda twice in a season. With the increasing number of countries of Africa under attack by locust swarms, the problem seems to have taken a regional paradigm. Its very diff...

Top 10 Fake News, Myths and Realities on 2019 Novel Coronavirus COVID 19

With nearly 1500 deaths by January 14 and around 65,000 infections in China, the Novel Coronavirus 2019 has become one of the worst health epidemics of the 21st Century. However, 8,573 people have been cured but the rumor mongers are a...

Videos

Latest News

AAP leaders camp outside LG's residence to discuss law and order in NE Delhi

Delhi ministers Gopal Rai, Imran Hussain and other Aam Aadmi Party MLAs camped outside Lt Governor Anil Baijals residence late Monday night to discuss with him the law and order situation in parts of northeast Delhi. Rai said situation has ...

Italy's PM Conte says impact of coronavirus on economy could be "very strong"

Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte on Monday said the impact of the coronavirus outbreak on the economy could be very strong. The economic impact could be very strong. At this moment we can calculate that there will be a negative economi...

UPDATE 4-Trump administration seeks $2.5 billion in funds to fight coronavirus

The Trump administration is asking Congress for 2.5 billion to fight the fast-spreading coronavirus, including more than 1 billion for vaccines, the White House said on Monday. With financial markets falling on concerns that the virus will ...

Pacers G Lamb out for season with torn ACL

Indiana Pacers guard Jeremy Lamb will miss the rest of the season with a torn left ACL. Lamb, 27, also tore the lateral meniscus and sustained a lateral femoral condylar fracture, the team said Monday. His surgery has not been scheduled.The...

Give Feedback