Sunday, March 26, 2023

Emmanuel Macron’s pension plan goes ahead despite strike across France – Usky News

Paris: Thousands of people got angry on the President Emmanuel Macron Plans to raise the retirement age joined a national strike on Wednesday as a committee of MPs pushed forward the proposal.
It remains to be seen whether Macron can command a parliamentary majority for his plan to raise the age from 62 to 64 so workers can pay more money into the system. If not, he could risk imposing unpopular changes unilaterally.
The plan would deny a full pension to anyone who retires at age 64 without working for 43 years—less than that, they would have to wait until 67.
Macron has promoted the central changes of his vision to make french economy more competitive. Unions remained combative late on Wednesday, calling on MPs to vote against the plan and dangerously “depriving democracy” of the government’s legal shortcuts to push through the bill.
The economic challenges have inspired widespread unrest across Western Europe. Teachers, junior doctors and public transport workers in Britain were on strike on Wednesday for higher pay in line with rising prices. And Spain’s leftist government joined hands with labor unions to announce a “historic” deal to save its pension system by raising social security costs for higher wage earners.
Spain’s solution is what the French federation would like, but Macron has refused to raise taxes, saying it would make the country’s economy less competitive. Something must be done, the president has argued, to maintain France’s current level of pension payments with the retired population expected to grow from 16 to 21 million by 2050.
In Paris, loud music and giant union balloons triggered nationwide protests on the 8th. A series of banners set the tone: “They call capitalism. We say fight,” read one. Others said “Paris is angry,” or “If rights are not protected, they will be crushed.” “
“If we do not speak now, all our rights for which the French have fought will be lost.” said actor Nicolas Durand, 33. “Macron is out of touch, and in bed with the rich. It is easy for people in government to say work harder, but their lives have been easier.
Ten days after a strike by sanitation workers, Paris was awash in piles of stale garbage, which police ordered to clear the way for marchers after recent demonstrations set fires or used garbage to throw garbage at police Was.
A heavy security force marched through the Left Bank and dispersed a group of black-clad rioters who attacked two real estate offices, smashing their windows with fence panels. Paris police said a total of 22 people had been detained.
Security forces responded to violence with tear gas in other cities, including Nantes in western France and Lyon in the southeast.
The committee of seven senators and seven National Assembly lawmakers agreed on the final text in a closed-door meeting on Wednesday, and a conservative Senate majority is expected to approve it as early as Thursday.
The situation in the National Assembly is much more complicated.
Macron’s centrist coalition lost its majority in legislative elections last year, forcing the government to rely on the votes of conservatives to pass the bill. Left-wing and far-right MPs are strongly opposed and conservatives are divided, making the result unpredictable.
After an evening strategy session at the Elysee presidential palace with Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne and the ministers in charge of the bill, his office said Macron “wants” to move a vote in the National Assembly. Still, no concrete decision was taken and the government talks were to continue on Thursday morning.
Approval in the National Assembly on Thursday would give the plan more legitimacy, but rather than face the risk of rejection, Macron could use his special constitutional power to push the bill through parliament without a vote.
French government spokesman Olivier Veran said on Wednesday that the bill would continue its path through the legislative process respecting “all the rules provided by our constitution”.
Aurélien Pradi, a Republican lawmaker who opposes the reforms, said on Wednesday he would challenge the Constitutional Council, a higher French legal body, if this special power was used.
Train drivers, school teachers, dock workers, oil refinery workers and others joined waste pickers to quit their jobs on Wednesday as they hauled thousands of tons of garbage onto the sidewalks of Paris and other French cities.
interior Minister gerald dermanin asked Paris City Hall to force some garbage workers to return to work, calling it an issue of public health.
The socialist mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, said she supported the strike. Government spokesman Veran warned that if she did not comply, the interior ministry was prepared to take action.
Public transport, meanwhile, has been disrupted: about 40% of high-speed trains and half of regional trains have been cancelled. The Paris Metro has slowed down, and France’s aviation authority warned of delays, saying 20% ​​of flights at Paris-Orly airport had been cancelled.
Paris police said 37,000 took part in the French capital, 11,000 fewer than on Saturday, even as polls showed widespread opposition to the pension bill. The leading CGT union said 450,000 took part in Paris and 1.7 million across France.
“The people who work the hardest will get the worst deal. It’s always like that,” said Magali Brutale, a 41-year-old nurse. “The very wealthy can afford to pay more taxes – it’s a good solution to pay for an aging population. Why are we effectively taxing the oldest and poorest?”


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