France strikes: Government stays firm on pension reforms as mass protests continue

WION Web Team New Delhi, Delhi, India Dec 17, 2019, 05.07 PM(IST)

File Photo: People march in Marseille during protests over a government pensions overhaul. Photograph:( AFP )

Story highlights

Tens of thousands of protestors are expected to hit the street today to protest against latest pension reforms in which the retirement age was changed to 64. Currently, the retirement age is set at 62.

The French government stood firm on the pension reforms as a fresh round of demonstrations to take place across the country on Tuesday.

"This reform... is going to be defended," news agency AFP quoted a government spokeswoman Sibeth Ndiaye as saying on late Monday.

Tens of thousands of protestors are expected to hit the street today to protest against latest pension reforms in which the retirement age was changed to 64. Currently, the retirement age is set at 62.

Meanwhile, French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe is scheduled to hold fresh talks with French trade union leaders on Wednesday, but a solution to the impasse appears out of reach for now.

Since December, 5 French trade unions have been France has been holding crippling strikes against plans for a single pensions system, which would do away with 42 separate schemes that offer early retirement and other benefits mainly to public-sector workers.

Commuters in Paris are the most affected by these strikes as transport services are the have been the most affected. Millions of commuters are facing daily misery due to the strikes and with holidays coming, travel plans are also at risks.

According to a local report, just one in four high-speed TGV trains is running on Tuesday.

Over 800,000 people turned out across France for the first mass demos on December 5, though the number had fallen to 340,000 according to the interior ministry on December 10.

Police are on high alert after some protesters vandalised storefronts and set fire to vehicles during the previous marches.

Half the metro lines in Paris were closed, though traffic jams were close to average as many people worked from home or just took the day off.

(With inputs from agencies)