France witnessed its sixth “historic” day of mobilisation against President Emmanuel Macron’s controversial pension reform on Tuesday. The proposed pension reform seeks to increase the retirement age from 62 to 64, a move that has faced fierce opposition from the public and trade unions.
Despite the government’s efforts to quell the protests, the turnout on Tuesday was higher than previous days, with more than 250 demonstrations taking place across the country. The education sector was hit hard, with 60% of workers participating in the strikes. Fuel supplies to refineries were blocked, and 80% of trains, including high-speed and regional trains, were affected. Around 20% to 30% of flights were also cancelled at the country’s major airports.
However, the government and workers are still at odds, and the balance of power in this social battle remains unclear. The unions will decide whether to continue strikes in key sectors such as energy and transport in the coming days, which will be crucial in their struggle against the government. Another day of demonstrations has been called for Saturday.
The protests were marked by clashes, with more than twenty people arrested, most of whom were violent individuals linked to radical groups who tried to disrupt the peaceful march. The demonstration started from Sevres-Babilone on the left bank of the river and ended at Place d’Italia, not far from the Senate, where the reform is currently being debated. The Senate is expected to approve the reform before Sunday.
The proposed pension reform has caused Macron’s popularity to plummet, and it has faced a tumultuous journey through the Assembly. The reform is now being debated in the Senate and will be debated in a joint committee before it is expected to be approved by 26 March at the latest.
The protestors believe that the proposed reform is unjust and was approved by force. Many participants hold the view that the reform would wipe out the social advances of the proletariat, and the government is not listening to the people. They are demonstrating against the proposed reform so that young people do not have to wait as long as the older generation to retire.