‘I can’t take any more’: Working-class French lament Macron’s push to raise retirement age

The French government presented its proposed pension reforms on Tuesday – measures President Emmanuel Macron has long argued are necessary to make the system affordable over the long term, an argument critics vociferously contest. FRANCE 24 spoke to several workers who do arduous jobs – and who are up in arms about the plans to take away the cherished right to retire at 62.

The centrepiece of Macron's proposed pension overhaul, which Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne unveiled on Tuesday, involves raising the retirement age from 62 to 64, and increasing the total number of years people must work to qualify for a full pension.

Macron became the first French president in a generation to lose a National Assembly majority in last year’s parliamentary elections. That means he will either have to get a few dozen conservative MPs to cross the aisle or resort to Article 49.3 – the Fifth Republic’s most contentious constitutional tool, which would allow him to bypass parliament altogether, even if it would mean a big loss of face.

“This work only gets harder as you get older. I find it a lot more difficult than I did twenty years ago to carry loads; even my knees are starting to give way now.

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