More strikes in France as pension reform continues

Today (Friday January 24) marks the seventh national day of strikes in France against the government’s proposed pension reforms, as protesters call for more action on Wednesday, January 29, 30 and 31.

24 January 2020
New strike action is taking place across France today, as unions and protesters continue to oppose the government's proposed pension reforms
By Connexion journalist

Today is also the 51st consecutive day of action by transport workers at SNCF and RATP.

In Paris, the march was set to begin at 11h at Place de la République, and continue until 19h, ending in Place de la Concorde. Action is also expected across 150 other cities and towns, including Reims, Tours, Tulle, Limoges, Niort, and Albi.

Transport services are expected to see some disruption, but international and long-distance services on “Ouigo {TGV), Thalys, and Eurostar will be normal”, SNCF said.

The TER train network “will vary depending on the region”, SNCF said, with the “weakest service” expected in Occitanie and Hauts-de-France, where just 50% of trains will operate. Around 60% of trains will operate in Nouvelle-Aquitaine and Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur; as will a similar percentage on Transilien and RER services in and around Paris.

The Paris metro is reporting a largely-normal service on one third of lines - including the Orlyval airport shuttle - but major issues on the rest. Passengers will need to check before travelling. Some lycée students were reported to be blocking tramlines, but police have now dispersed them.

Unions that remain in opposition to the government have also called for a new interprofessional day of strikes on January 29, as well as “initiatives” on January 30 and 31. Yet, the union CFE-CGC, which has previously been involved in all action, has said it will not join this new action.

It comes as the pensions reform project is set to be presented before government council le Conseil des Ministres today, marking the final step before it is examined in Parliament.

In an interview, work minister Muriel Pénicaud said that the bill, as it currently stands, was not necessarily definitive. She said: “The text, as it is, will obviously be modified and amended. Parliament is not just an echo recording chamber.”

In an interview published today, Prime Minister Edouard Philippe announced that the anticipated finance meeting is set to take place on January 30, bringing together social partners in a bid to “find 12 billion euros” and “guarantee the balance of the future system”, according to public news source FranceInfo.

The controversial issue of the minimum retirement age has yet to be resolved, and is just one of the issues expected to be discussed.

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