Macron pension reform: Strike continues for second day

6 December 2019

The second day of a strike over French President Emmanuel Macron’s planned pension reforms has disrupted key services across the country. Public transport, schools and hospitals have been affected by the action. At least 800,000 people protested on Thursday, with clashes reported in several cities. Unions have called for more mass demonstrations on Tuesday.

Workers are angry about the prospect of retiring later or facing reduced payouts. France currently has 42 different pension schemes across its private and public sectors, with variations in retirement age and benefits. Mr Macron says his plans for a universal points-based system would be fairer, but many disagree.

The strike over his pension plan has drawn people from a wide range of professions, including firefighters, doctors and transport workers. Some have vowed not to stop until he abandons his campaign promise to overhaul the retirement system.

“We’re going to protest for a week at least, and at the end of that week it’s the government that’s going to back down,” 50-year-old Paris transport employee Patrick Dos Santos told Reuters news agency.

Prime Minister Édouard Philippe announced that he would unveil details of the pension reform plans on Wednesday, insisting that the change would be gradual and “not brutal”.