Emmanuel Macron’s popularity has plummeted in the latest poll as anger over his controversial pension reforms continues to spark fury across the country. The plan to scrap France’s 42 separate pension schemes and set up a universal, points-based system has irked unions, which argue the new system will deepen inequalities
By Romina McGuinness
Mounting anger over the French government’s planned overhaul of the country’s cherished pension system has sent President Emmanuel Macron’s approval rating spiralling downwards, a poll published on Sunday found. The survey by pollster Ifop showed Mr Macron’s popularity rating fell to 30 percent in January from 34 percent a month ago. The poll for weekly newspaper Le Journal du Dimanche (JDD) also found that the young centrist’s dissatisfaction rating now stands at 68 percent, up three points from December.
His approval rating has hovered between 33 and 34 percent in recent months.
France’s hard-left trade unions have been locked in a bitter battle with Mr Macron over his pension reform plans since early December.
On Friday, they threatened crippling industrial action for months to come as they scrambled for a way to force the ex-banker to ditch the reform, a demand the 42-year-old has ruled out entirely.
But, after seven weeks of labour strikes and mass protests, there are growing signs of splits within the opposition.
Most strikers returned to work last week and train services that had been severely disrupted by the walkouts returned to normal after the government made a series of concessions to unions.
But leftist unions such as the FO and CGT rejected the government’s overtures and have shifted to more radical actions such as power cuts and port blockades, as well as mass occupations of the headquarters of the more moderate CFDT union.