France: Protests December 19 strike Paris, to maintain pressure on Macron, pensions are not negotiable
— Anon Candanga💥🌍🌎🌏 (@anon_candanga) December 19, 2019
Traffic improved slightly on French trains Thursday as nationwide strikes over the government’s retirement reform entered a 15th day and small signs of progress emerged in negotiations with unions.
However, the crisis hitting one of the world’s biggest economies at the height of the holiday season is far from over.
Anti-government protesters are keeping up pressure on President Emmanuel Macron with a new march through Paris in the afternoon. And some workers are expected to maintain their strike through the Christmas holidays and beyond.
CFDT Secretary General Laurent Berger said Thursday the government showed a “willingness to discuss” the issue.
He acknowledged that given lengthening life expectancy and the high cost of France’s pension system, “yes, we will have to work a bit longer” — but said if the government doesn’t abandon the idea of a fixed new retirement age of 64 by January, his union will continue to protest.
Recent polls show a majority of the French support the strikes and protests, as they fear the proposals will make them work longer in return for lower pensions.