France Grinds To Halt Over Nationwide Pension StrikesReader01/19/2023 (Thu) 16:31 Id: 63ed74No.19669del
France Grinds To Halt Over Nationwide Pension Strikes
French refinery workers, teachers, train drivers, and other critical industry employees walked off their jobs in a nationwide day of strikes against President Emmanuel Macron's plan to increase the retirement age by two years to 64. AP News reported the strikes are "halting high-speed trains, disrupting electricity supplies," and bringing major transportation networks to a screeching halt.
Protests are underway in major French metro areas, including Paris, Marseille, Toulouse, Nantes, and Nice. Transportation networks have ground to a halt. Many workers who hit the street in protest of Macron's planned increase to the minimum retirement are in sectors including railways, schools, hospitals, and air-traffic controllers.
France's eight largest labor unions coordinated today's massive labor action. The CGT union and the head of the Communist party are expected to have at least a million workers protest today.
"This will be a first day," CGT head Philippe Martinez told local media France 2. He added: "When we say this, it means there will be others."
Reuters noted before the strike that the CGT union "threatened to cut off electricity supplies to lawmakers and billionaires."
The challenge for Macron is to overhaul the pension system to keep it solvent. His administration has argued that the aging population and growing life expectancy have burdened the pension systems. However, the unions are upset with Macron's plan amid increasing outrage over a cost-of-living crisis.
Labour Ministry estimates show increasing the retirement age by two years would bring an additional 17.7 billion euros in annual pension contributions -- allowing the pension fund to survive until 2027.
AP reported many forms of transportation are either delayed or halted today.