On January 10th, French Prime Minister Elisabeth Bourne announced reform to the French pension plan. The reform would see the retirement age rise to 64 by 2030. The French left decried the change
Labour Unions and Left-Wing parties organized a mass strike on January 19th in response. Over 1 million citizens took to the streets on the 19th. Since then, numerous other protests have taken place throughout the country. These protests ranged from public marches and mass strikes, which have caused nearly 10 million pounds of trash to litter the streets of Paris, to union labours cutting power to politicians and the wealthy.
Tensions Flare Up
. On March 12th, Macron refused to meet with Labour leaders, and the French Senate passed the reform with a vote of 195-112. In response, on March 15th, workers continued to strike. The transport sector reflects the strike. Cancellation of nearly half of the high-speed train rides in Paris.The cancellation of half of the regional train ride in Paris. While at Paris-Orly, one of two international airports in France, has seen 1 in 5 flights cancelled.
On March 16th, Bourne announced to the Parliament that she was invoking Article 49.3. This approved the reform without a vote by Parliament. This sparked outrage from the left-wing members of Parliament. The leader of the French Communist party Fabien Roussel announced after that the left-wing party would be filing a vote of no-confidence against Macron and the Bourne Government. A similar response was shared by Far-right leader Marine Le Pen. Both sides have filed their own no-confidence, with the left’s gaining more votes. The Parliament will reconvene on March 20th. The public’s response has been more protests and strikes. Some companies reported that nearly 40% of their workforce walked off the line on March 18th to strike against the reform, crippling the output of the company and the French economy. Teaching unions have called for strikes that would disrupt University exams. Labour unions have organized another strike for March 23rd and a general strike for the 30th. The labour unions and labours want Macron to keep the age at 62 and increase the tax on the wealthy.
The reform will likely be the end of centrist control of France when it comes to elections in 2027. Pension reform is unpopular with the general public. 67% of the population is against the reform, with 33% favouriting it. The last time the pension reform passed was in 2010 under Nicolas Sarkozy, the centre-right president. This saw the raising of the retirement age from 60 to 62. The reform caused the Socialist Party to win the Presidency in 2012.