French government to press ahead with pension reform despite revolt

© LUDOVIC MARIN/AFP

At Monday's cabinet meeting, the French government is expected to reaffirm its determination to press ahead with pension reform, without any major concessions to the trade unions or political opposition.

Labour Minister Olivier Dussopt is expected to hold a press conference after Monday's meeting of the cabinet. He will be flanked by government spokesman Olivier Véran.

While the government has refused any substantial concessions to those who contest the reform legislation, the unions have had their position strengthened by the huge turnout at last Thursday's nationwide demonstrations against the changes.

The labour organisations claim to have mobilised at least one million protesters against the reform during last week's 24-hour strike. A two-day work stoppage is now planned for 31 January, with a major impact expected in such sectors as public transport, schools and the distribution of fuel.

Despite the success of last Thursday's strike, the government and President Emmanuel Macron are expected to use Monday's meeting with the press to reaffirm the executive's determination to see the disputed bill pass the parliamentary debate stage without undue delay, with a view to having the new law in place by this summer.

Flexibility and determination

President Macron has already shown flexibility, reducing the age limit from 65 to 64. At the weekend he refused any further adaptations, saying he did not want to anticipate the work of parliament.

"But I want the government and parliament to work together to find necessary compromise.

However, the French leader continued, "the requirements are clearly established. And, I believe, now is the time to move forward."


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