The French are protesting in a last-ditch effort to stop pension reform
Demonstrators went to another protest in France, reports “Reuters”.
It is their latest attempt to persuade lawmakers not to back President Emmanuel Macron’s pension reform bill, which would raise the retirement age by two years to 64.
A broad coalition of unions called on workers to join an eighth day of nationwide protests since mid-January against the unpopular policy measure. The demonstrations brought together millions of people, disrupted the transport and energy sectors, and left garbage piling up on the streets of Paris.
However, despite the sharp public reaction, Macron did not give up his intention.
Today, the pensions bill went to a joint parliamentary committee, where MPs from the lower and upper houses are looking for a compromise text.
If an agreement is reached, the final vote in both the Senate and the National Assembly will take place tomorrow.
Protesters took to the streets with homemade placards reading “No to the 64s” or union banners and slogans such as “Public and private sector together for our pensions”.
“MPs must look at what is happening in their constituencies,” said Laurent Berger, head of France’s largest trade union CFDT, before the start of the rally in Paris.
This new day of protests “is intended to tell the legislators: do not vote for this reform”, he pointed out.
Macron’s group had to fight to secure enough votes in parliament, where it lacks an absolute majority, and will rely on the conservative Les Republicains party for support, although its ranks are divided on the issue.
“There will be neither an easy vote nor panic in the National Assembly,” said government spokesman Olivier Veran.
Lawmakers reported ministers or their teams calling lawmakers from Les Republicains and centrist formations in an attempt to persuade them to support the reform – sometimes offering favors to their constituents in return.
“We have all received calls in recent days,” said Christoph Nagelen of the centrist Liot group, where about 15 of the 20 MPs will vote against the reform. Several LR MPs said the same.
Sylvain Maillard, an MP from Macron’s camp, said it was “normal” for there to be talks between the government and lawmakers.