Macron insists pension reform is necessary as protests, strikes press on
France braced for a new round of protests against a plan to overhaul the pension system on Saturday. More than a million demonstrators marched in cities across France this week in open-ended strikes against the government's plans.
French President Emmanuel Macron insisted on the need for raising the retirement age from 62 to 64 in order to make the French pension system financially sustainable in the coming years, in a letter to workers’ unions released Friday.
The move comes after more than a million demonstrators marched in cities and towns across France this week as train and metro drivers, refinery workers and others started open-ended strikes against the centrist government's plan.
Unions called for more protests on Saturday. They are demanding the withdrawal of the bill, which is being debated by the French Senate this week.
According to the letter provided by the president's office, Macron said he made the choice to “make the French work a little longer" because other options, which he rejected, would have involved “decreasing pensions, raising taxes or letting our children and grandchildren carry the financial burden.”
Union leader Francois Hommeril of the CFE-CGC, which represents workers in the energy sector, among others, said Friday that Macron’s letter appeared to be another “missed opportunity” for the president to pursue reforms while listening to concerned workers.
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