New Paris protest against French pension reforms

Liberal professions to rally against government's plans to simplify France's pensions system amid fears over rights and payments

16 September 2019
By Connexion journalist

Lawyers, flight attendants, pilots, doctors, physiotherapists and self-employed nurses were due to demonstrate against the government's pension reform plans on Monday, days after Paris was crippled by a public transport workers' strike in protest at the same issue.

The protest of the so-called 'liberal professions' is due to start at 1pm at Place de l'Opera. Associations representing the professions have set up a collective known as SOS-Retraites.

In an article published in Journal du Dimanche, SOS-Retraites said: "We are lawyers, stewards and pilots, professionals - doctors, paramedics, surgeons, physiotherapists. We are 700,000 professionals who, every day, transport, care for and defend our fellow citizens (...), gathered against the proposals of the ... report on pension reform." 

Lawyers and some medical workers in the liberal professions fear a doubling of their contributions, while doctors are worried about a reduction in their final pensions - while pilots and flight attendants, in line with Metro workers who walked out on Friday, want to keep the right to retire early.

In July, President Macron’s government revealed plans to replace 42 different public pension schemes with a single, universal points-based pension system that would have the knock-on effect of raising the pension age. If approved, the reforms - which would mean anyone retiring before the age of 64 would, based on their contributions, receive a lower pension  - will be rolled out from 2025.

No concrete proposals on pension reform are due to be put forward to the Assembly before Spring 2020 - but already unions are mobilising against the plans, despite a promise last week from Prime Minister Edouard Philippe to enter into talks with union officials and set up a public consultation.

Speaking on Thursday, ahead of the public transport walkout, Mr Philippe said: "We're going to construct a truly universal system where every euro paid in will provide the same rights for everyone, whether a labourer, a shop owner, a researcher, a farmer, a civil servant, a doctor, or an entrepreneur."

Last year MPs overwhelmingly voted to overhaul rail operator SNCF, which saw employees lose generous job and pension guarantees.

Further union protests against the reforms are planned for September 21 and September 24.

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