The mobilization against the pension reform, which started a week ago, should intensify with new demonstrations planned by the end of the week, the day after the presentation of the bill by the Prime Minister. The latter, far from appeasing anger, tipped the reformist unions into the camp of the opponents.
The presentation by Edouard Philippe of the pension reform bill and its specifics (end of special schemes, “age of balance” at 64, entry into the point system from the generation born in 1975 ..) , has not undermined the status quo which prevails on the side of the social partners as to the follow-up to be given to the mobilization against pension reform. The fight continues and there will be “no truce for Christmas unless the government returns to reason” by withdrawing his project, warned the general secretary of the CGT-Cheminots, Laurent Brun, at the head of the dispute.
Massive inter-union action on December 17
Because as soon as the plan was unveiled, the union revolt widened. The “red line is crossed”, thundered the general secretary of the CFDT Laurent Berger, first support of a universal points system but hostile to an extension of the contribution period via an “age of balance”. He asked the government to “go back” on this point.
“Seeing that the compromise is at hand and sweeping it for a question of budget dogmatism is a profound mistake,” he lamented in an interview with Les Echos. On the radio and television in the morning, the government and the majority were trying to pick up the pieces. “There is room for negotiation, whether on the arduousness, whether on the modalities to achieve balance,” said Minister of Economy Bruno Le Maire.
Laurent Berger, “who embodies French social democracy a bit”, will therefore “not fail to make proposals which could be alternatives, possibly, to what the government has put on the table”, risked the president of the ‘National Assembly, Richard Ferrand. Tuesday, December 17, “there will be only Medef who will not be on strike,” joked CGT number one, Philippe Martinez. The CFDT, the first union, called to take to the streets, as did the CFTC and Unsa, during this next major mobilization. But Laurent Berger, who notes “progress” in the reform and wants to “find the path to dialogue”, will not be in the front row of the CGT-FO-Solidaires-FSU intersyndicale.
“Smoking”, “terrible reform”: the opposition is unleashed
On Wednesday, Edouard Philippe said that “the law will provide a golden rule so that the value of the point acquired cannot fall”, in response to one of the main concerns expressed by opponents of the pension reform. The disappearance of the special schemes is confirmed but, for officials and agents of the special schemes whose legal age of departure is 52 years, in particular drivers of the SNCF and the RATP, the reform will apply from the 1985 generation only.
The executive said it was working on the rapid implementation of a simulator to reassure future pensioners. “I asked that before December 18 we can have elements that can say roughly the amount of retirement of each,” said Edouard Philippe Wednesday night before parliamentarians of the majority, according to a participant in this meeting. For the Prime Minister, “the guarantees given” justify that the strike, “which penalizes millions of French, stops”. However, discontent remains wide. The Bar Council will vote on Friday, and the main police unions are threatening to “toughen up” their mobilization. FSU teachers called for renewal.
Throughout the political spectrum, oppositions have criticized the project. “This reform is unanimously against it, it must be withdrawn,” insisted Fabien Roussel (PCF) during a rare unitary meeting of the left in Saint-Denis Wednesday night. On the right, Guillaume Peltier (LR) denounced “a smokestack”, Marine Le Pen (RN) a reform “terrible”. According to the government, the bill will be submitted to the Council of Ministers on 22 January and discussed in Parliament at the end of February.
The galley in transport continues
Road traffic remained very disturbed Thursday with more than 400 kilometers of cork shortly after 8:30 in Île-de-France. In public transport, traffic was almost unchanged from Wednesday: one TGV and one Transilien out of 4, a 10th metro line closed at 9:30. Only 40% of buses were traveling, against 50% expected, because of early blockages, according to the RATP.
Local demonstrations and gatherings are planned from Marseille to Paris, where a parade must leave from Nation. In Le Havre, the industrial and port zone was blocked by more than a thousand protesters, according to the police. “We hold the eight main points (entry, ed) .It left for the day,” said Sandrine Gerard, secretary of the local union CGT.