'Pension change needed but has been badly explained’

Many rail workers are expected to strike over the pension reforms

Sociologist Jean Viard says it is difficult to know what the outcome of the protests against the French pension reforms will be but he does not think the public wants a long period of unrest and a repeat of the violence that came out of last winters’ gilets jaunes protests

Jean Viard (Photo: Virginie Jullion)

THE strikes have the government worried and could result in a general election, says sociologist Jean Viard, however the outcome remains uncertain.

Dr Viard, a director of research at Sciences Po who stood to be an LREM MP in 2017, said: “The press talks a great deal about December 5 and I have met members of government and know they are very worried, but it is unpredictable. 

“The SNCF and RATP are motivated, because the SNCF lost its battle with the government last year when reforms they fought against were voted through, so that rankles. 

“Also this kind of movement depends on the region. Strikes are stronger in the south. We say when there is a train strike it will last four ...

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