News World France's unions take pensions battle back onto the streets

France’s unions take pensions battle back onto the streets

French unions called on Tuesday for public workers to stage one of the biggest protests in decades, hoping to exceed the 800,000 people they brought into the streets last week in an uprising against President Emmanuel Macron’s pension reforms.

Commuters grappled with widespread transport disruption as a strike entered its sixth straight day, with schools closed in Paris, airlines cutting flights and power output dipping overnight.

The unions show no sign of backing down in a battle that will define the presidency of the former investment banker, who is determined to simplify a system of more than 40 pension plans that provide some of the world’s most generous benefits.

The unions are calling on rail workers, doctors, teachers and other public workers to turn the screws on Macron before his government unveils its proposals on Wednesday.

The strike is among the biggest since 1995 when prime minister Alain Juppe was forced to abandon an overhaul of the pension system after weeks of industrial action, a defeat from which he never recovered.

“They cannot tell us how the system will be fairer, more simple,” Yves Veyrier, leader of the hard-left Force Ouvriere union told Sud Radio.

Macron wants to replace the convoluted system comprised of more than 40 separate plans, each with varying benefits, with a single, points-based system under which for each euro contributed, every pensioner has equal rights.

Failure to reform would mean a deficit of up to 17 billion euros ($18.74 billion), 0.7% of GDP, by 2025, an independent pension committee forecast.

Macron is aware of the public opposition to simply raising the retirement age of 62. One alternative is to curb benefits for those who stop working before 64 and give a boost to those who leave later.

Room for concessions may lie in the pace at which the changes are phased in.

The outcome will hinge on who blinks first – the unions who risk losing public support if the disruption goes on too long, or the president whose two-and-a-half years in office have been rocked by waves of social unrest.

Some on the streets of Paris fear a protracted fight that runs up to Christmas.

“The government won’t bend, nor will the unions,” said Caroline Chirra, 56, who managed to catch a commuter train into Paris but faced an hour’s walk crossing the capital. “So this could last a while.”

(Reuters)

Top Stories

One covid case today, an immigrant that was to be hosted in care centre-1003 in total

  One new case of Covid-19 was reported in Cyprus today out of 1445 tests. It's an immigrant that was to be hosted in a care...

Major traffic congestion on Famagusta-Larnaca highway, as thousands return

  Police has advised caution and patience to drivers as thousands return to the capital from coastal resorts. There is increased traffic on the Famagusta-Larnaca highway,...

Health ministry issues heat protection advice as high temperatures continue

  The health ministry issued basic heat protection advice this afternoon, following several Met Office warnings of high temperatures both today and over the next...

Yellow heat warning tomorrow-41 degrees

  The Met Office has issued a yellow heat warning as hot and dry conditions will persist tomorrow, though slightly downgraded in comparison with a...

Ireland delays easing of travel restrictions until July 20, has lowest infection rate in EU

  Ireland will ease quarantine restrictions on people travelling from abroad on July 20, with people arriving from a “green list” of countries with low...

Taste

Cyprus sprouts with cream and prosciutto

In a big, deep frying pan, fry the prosciutto in the olive oil, on medium heat for 2 minutes. Add the onion and garlic...

Pork burger with sundried tomatoes, mozzarella and anchovies

Mix all the ingredients together with the mince in a bowl, and combine well. Divide into 4 balls and form the burgers. Warm a griddle/pan...

Sheftalies

Wash the lamb cauls with plenty of cold water and let them settle in water and vinegar for a little while. Soak the bread crumbs...

Loukaniko Pitsilias – Pitsilia Sausage

Pitsilia sausage is produced in the Pitsilia region from pork minced meat that is “cooked” ( matured) in the dry red wine of the...