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French unions expect “millions” of protesters for pensions

Paris, Jan 13. The French unions expect “millions” of people on strike and demonstrating in the streets during the day of mobilizations called for next Thursday against the pension reform planned by the Government, while the Executive asks for responsibility and to avoid a blockade of the country.

“I have rarely felt so much discontent,” said union leader Philippe Martínez, leader of the combative CGT, in an interview with the BFM television channel on Friday.

For Martínez, it is “evidence” that on January 19 there will be at least one or two million participants in the force measures called jointly by the entire union arch, which rejects outright the flagship measure of this pension system reform project : the delay of the minimum retirement age from 62 to 64 years.

Opinion polls agree with the unions by showing that the majority of the French are against the project that Emmanuel Macron’s Executive presented last Tuesday, although the general opinion is that this reform will end up being approved anyway.

The unions, however, are optimistic regarding their options to make the government back down, but for that, according to Martínez, “millions of people are needed on strike and in the streets.”

“You can demonstrate without blocking a country,” replied, for his part, the spokesman for the Executive, Olivier Véran, interviewed by the LCI chain and echoing the call for “responsibility” that the French Prime Minister had launched the day before, Elisabeth Borne.

Specifically, Borne asked the unions to take into account that the citizens endured at the end of 2022 the consequences of a long strike in the refineries, which caused fuel shortages, and transport stoppages that were added to the problems derived from inflation. and the energy crisis.

“It is scandalous. It is she who should have reflected before launching this reform, it is she who has lit, in quotes, the fire,” Martínez launched today in response.

Also referring to the possibility of strikes again at the refineries was the Minister of Energy Transition, Agnès Pannier-Runacher, who in statements to the public broadcaster France Info asked “not to blow on the embers.”

The government side insists that it is essential to carry out a reform to balance the pension system for the coming decades and defends the need to work longer as the only solution to avoid lowering pensions or raising the contributions of employees and Business.

The latter is a red line for the Government, since it estimates that it would have a negative impact on the purchasing power of the French and on the country’s ability to continue reducing the unemployment rate. EFE

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