French Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne unveiled a radical overhaul on Tuesday night of the country's pension payments which aims at raising the retirement age from 62 to 64 by 2030.
The measure - a key plank of Emmanuel Macron's second-term manifesto - unleashed calls for protests.
Leading trades unions - the CFDT, CGT, FO, CFE-CGC, CFTC, Unsa, FSU and Solidaires - responded to Borne's proposals with a call for a day of strikes and demonstrations on 19 January.
Borne said the minimum retirement age to be entitled to a full pension will be gradually increased by three months every year, starting this year.
People will need to have worked for at least 43 years to get a full pension, starting from 2027, she said.
“Working more will allow future retirees to get higher pensions,” Borne said.
“By 2030, our system will be financially balanced,” she added.
"I'm well aware that changing our pension system raises questions and fears among the French," Borne added. "We offer a project to balance our pension system, a project that is fair."
Those who started working before the age of 20 will be able to get early retirement, Borne added.
Specific categories of workers such as police officers and firefighters will also be able to retire earlier.
Under the current system, all French workers receive a state pension.
The government argues that on average French people are living longer than before and therefore need to work longer to make the pension system financially sustainable.
French MPs will debate the nitty-gritty of the measures in the Assemblée nationale next month.
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