Paris Opera ballerinas, who retire at 42, kick up a fuss over Macron pension plans

December 24, 2019

Ballerinas in white tutus danced scenes from Swan Lake on the forecourt of the Paris Opera on Tuesday to protest against President Emmanuel Macron’s plans to scrap their special pension benefits.

Backed by musicians from the Paris Symphony Orchestra, the dancers performed their impromptu 20-minute rendition before hundreds of onlookers. Behind them were banners reading “Culture in danger.”

Paris Opera dancers have a bespoke pension plan dating back to the 17th century. It includes the right to retire on a full pension at the age of 42, two decades earlier than the average worker.

They stand to lose those benefits if Macron pushes ahead with a planned overhaul of a convoluted pension system that he says will be fairer, incentives workers to stay in the labor force until 64 and balance the pension budget.


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