The “historic mobilization” against pension reform in France

At the end of a record day of mobilization, the trade union will continue to put pressure on the street and demand that Emmanuel Macron receive it “urgently” so that he withdraws the pension reforms that the Senate addressed on the most controversial Tuesday night. Measures.

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If the unions had promised to put France “at a standstill”, the rate of strikers remained just below the record numbers for this new day of action against this reform.

But the processions in the street exceeded the record mobilization on January 31, according to figures from the Ministry of the Interior and those affiliated with the Tunisian General Labor Union.

Beauvau counted 1.28 million demonstrators and the CGT 3.5 million, up from 1.27 million and 2.5 million respectively on 31 January. The trade union advanced with “more than 3 million” demonstrators.

This mobilization is “historic in relation to the last 40 or 50 years,” CFDT leader Laurent Berger estimated.

Denying the danger of shortness of breath from the processions, the trade union, which always presents a united front, called on Tuesday evening for two new days of measures and demonstrations, first Saturday and then next week, when the Senate and House of Representatives will try to agree in a joint committee (CMP) on the reform measure bill , most likely on the 15th, according to parliamentary sources.

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While the renewed strikes are affecting key sectors of the economy, the trade union is also asking to be “received urgently” by Emmanuel Macron “so that he can undo his reforms”.

And she warned that “the silence of the President of the Republic constitutes a serious democratic problem that inevitably leads to a situation that could explode.”

Asked about this request from the unions, the Elysee Palace did not immediately respond to AFP requests.

The executive branch is counting on the Senate adopting the reform by Sunday and is considering a “March 16 vote” in both chambers.

Until then, discussions at the Luxembourg Palace will focus on the most controversial measure in the text, the postponement of the legal age of departure from 62 to 64. The Senate began Tuesday at the end of the afternoon to study this item, which could not be dealt with during the passage of the bill in the House, due to lack of time.

As in previous mobilizations, the processions were generally calm on Tuesday despite some clashes between some masked demonstrators and the police in Paris and Nantes or even in Lyon and Rennes where water cannons were used.

In Paris, where the number of marches played the big difference between the CGT census (700,000) and the police headquarters (81,000), 43 people were arrested.

Strike rates remained just below the best scores recorded since the movement’s inception, among railroad workers (39% vs. 46.3% on Jan. 19) and among teachers and in the EDF (47.65% of employees on strike according to management, compared to 50% on Jan. 19).

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In the state’s civil service as a whole, nearly one in four officers has been on strike, up from 28% on the first day of work on Jan. 19.

Everywhere in France processions were greatly provided for on Tuesdays.

The number of demonstrators was between 6,000 (province) and 30,000 (CGT) in Nice, between 13,000 and 23,000 in Bayonne, between 20,500 and 55,000 in Grenoble.

In Lyon, Audrey Sevadon, a 27-year-old engineer, and Gabrielle Laloy Borgna, a 26-year-old doctoral student who has participated in almost all of the previous demonstrations, hope they can still turn things around.

“The reform will pass, and then it will be implemented?” Gabrielle Lalloy Borgna asked. “We still have an iota of hope, or we wouldn’t be here,” Audrey Sevadon added.

In Marseille, the CGT reported 245,000 demonstrators (against 205,000 on January 31), 30,000 according to the prefecture (40,000 on January 31).

In poll after poll, the vast majority of French remain against the symbolic measure of reform, postponing the legal age to leave, even if they think it will be well implemented.

In the field of education, the ministry reported that 32.71% of teachers were on strike. The Snuipp-FSU union, the leading elementary union, has identified 60% of the college and high school teachers who are on strike.

CGT Energy Secretary General Sébastien Ménesplier predicted a “dark week” in the sector, with production cuts mainly in nuclear power.

A “wild” blackout affected up to 4,000 people in Boulogne-sur-Mer and surrounding areas in the morning, according to Enides.

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More than 2,000 homes were also deprived of electricity in Annonay (Ardèche), the stronghold of Labor Minister Olivier Dusopt, according to the same source.

Fuel shipments were banned Tuesday morning at the exit of “all refineries” in France (TotalEnergies, Esso-ExxonMobil and Petroineos), according to the CGT-Chimie consortium.

In gas, unions shut down three of France’s four LNG terminals “for seven days” on Monday.

“If the reform is adopted, mobilization is unlikely to continue at this level,” predicts a government source anticipating the disengagement of the reformist unions.

“The law is very important, but so is true democracy,” warned Laurent Berger, warning against the forced passage of 49.3 which would be “an unacceptable form of obstruction.”

Faced with a “stalemate,” Emmanuel Macron must “find a way out from above,” “dissolve the National Assembly,” or hold another referendum, as Jean-Luc Mélenchon (LFI) asked to Marseille.

The SNCF plans to offer slightly improved transport on Wednesday, with a third of trains being traded for TGV and TER, up from a fifth on Tuesday.

Thursday, traffic will be disrupted again, according to the company, whose unions have all launched a renewable strike.

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