Trade unions officially started the 6th day of a national strike against Emmanuel Macron's pension reform today. The bill implies an increase in the retirement age by two years — up to 64 years, and a lot of people are unhappy about it.
Protests in France related to the pension reform have been going on for several months, if not years. The situation in a nutshell: Macron's reform is designed to balance the retirement fund, and create a solid system as people's life expectancy increases. He wants to do this by making French work longer.
In response, labor unions argue that it would be better for Macron to raise taxes on the rich than to attack a cherished retirement right and unjustly burden the hardworking laborers. Indeed, as a lot of "non-white collars" workers start early and have worse working conditions, it often leads to shorter lifespans.
This is not the first attempt in the Macron presidency to change the pension system: the last time things ended the same way, with protests.
This time, however, the sixth strike is structured a little differently — it is open-ended. At the end of the day, Unions collect information on who is ready to continue to oppose the reform, so that the demonstration will last as long as possible.
Even earlier than the stated date, nuclear power plant workers went on strike, causing power generation to be drastically reduced as early as last Saturday. We wrote earlier that the amount of generated energy in France decreased because of the demonstration. Now other professionals have joined the full-scale action.
Currently, most trains have stopped running in the country, and industrial and oil plants have been blocked. It is also reported that the strikes affected educational institutions as well: many schools are closed today.
The coming days will be especially difficult for tourists and travelers because of the possibility of blocked roads. Transport problems have already been felt by cross-border workers due to yet further disruptions of the problematic Metz-Luxembourg line.
Particular attention on the eve of International Women's Day is focused on the women protesting in the streets of Paris and France in general. The negative consequences of pension reform are known to affect them the most: during their careers, women are more likely than men to face the choice between family and profession. They are more likely to devote the time they could have worked to their families, and therefore they receive full retirement rights later than men. The fact that women receive a pension of 40% less is the result of this choice as well.