French Crisis Will Only End After Pension Reform Ban: Unions

April 5, 2023

On Wednesday, French trade unions leaders described as a failure the meeting with Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne, whom they demanded to withdraw the unpopular pension reform proposed by President Emmanuel Macron.


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“We told the Prime Minister that there could be no other democratic way out to the current social crsis than the withdrawal of this text. Despite this, she said that she wanted to keep it,” said Cyril Chabanier, a member of the French Confederation of Christian Workers (CFTC).

Since January, French citizens have held massive demonstrations to reject this reform, which proposes to delay the retirement age to 64 years by 2030. In March, Macron decided to approve this reform by decree as Borne informed him that the votes from the French far-right were not enough to pass the pension reform in Parliament.  

The reform, which the Presidents considers indispensable to avoid a future deficit in the pension fund, is currently in the Constitutional Council, which on April 14 must decide on its validity.

Pending that decision, the Macron administration currently tries to approve new projects, including a new labor law that the Prime Minister wanted to discuss with union leaders on Wednesday.

Trade union leaders, however, refused to address other issues rather than the pension reform. “We are living a serious democratic crisis,” said Laurent Berger, the leader of the French Democratic Confederation of Labour (CFDT).

French trade unions urged citizens to participate in the 11th day of mass protests against the pension reform on Thursday. According to polls, two out of three French people oppose such a reform.

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