Big anti-President Macron strike in France

This 5 December 2019 Euronews TV video says about itself:

Mass strikes and protests in France over pension reform | LIVE

Unions call for a national strike across the public and private sectors against French President Emmanuel Macron‘s proposed reform of the country’s pension system.

From daily News Line in Britain, 6 December 2019:

FRANCE is paralysed by a nationwide general strike by transport workers, teachers and other trade unions, supported by the mass of the working population.

This is a showdown between the whole of the working class and President Emmanuel Macron, backed by the ruling class and its armies of riot policemen.

Macron’s planned pension ‘reforms’ force workers to work longer for a smaller pension.

Yesterday, the main cities were at a standstill. …

The strike is open-ended and could last a number of days or weeks. It has drawn comparisons with the struggle between government and unions in November-December 1995, when the country was paralysed for three weeks.

The strikes will be a major test of whether Macron, who came to power on the back of a promise to transform France and wants to be a new Napoleon, has the political strength to push through his pensions plan, and fight the issue out with the working class, using hundreds of thousands of riot police and even the army for that purpose.

This 5 December 2019 video says about itself:

Several thousand people wait outside the “Gare de l’Est” train station in Paris before a march through the French capital to protest against a pension overhaul by President Emmanuel Macron. Unions say the planned reforms will force millions of people to work longer or face curtailed benefits.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Thursday, December 5, 2019

France paralysed by mass strikes against Macron‘s pension raid

FRANCE was shut down by strikes across the public and private sectors today as workers took action against President Emmanuel Macron’s attacks on pensions and the retirement age.

The Eiffel Tower was closed, trains did not run and aircraft were grounded as rallies took place in all the country’s major cities.

Schools and businesses did not function and the presidential palace was barricaded shut, with an extra 6,000 police deployed to the streets of Paris and 65 people arrested before the main Paris demo even began.

Marchers wore yellow vests in solidarity with the huge gilets jaunes movement against neoliberalism or red ones symbolising their trade union membership.

Health workers, students and environmental campaigners joined demonstrations to decry the “social crisis” provoked by Mr Macron’s neoliberal regime, which has attacked workers’ rights and launched a wave of privatisations.

Supportive unions included the CGT, Force Ouvriere, Solidaires, civil servants’ union the FSU and many more. Unions say the action is open-ended and they hope to force government concessions within a week. The Paris Metro strike will last at least until Monday, organisers said.

The movement has also received backing from most political parties, including the Socialists, Communists and Jean-Luc Melenchon’s France Unbowed on the left …

The conservative Republicans said they did not approve of the action, but were also opposed to Mr Macron’s pension raid.

A guide to the action by France Unbowed said Mr Macron was determined to lower the value of pensions and make men and women work longer.

“Why work longer when by retirement age one in two people is no longer employed anyway and an employee produces on average three times more than in 1970?” it asked. “Progress is not about working more and more.”

France Unbowed’s Adrien Quatennens said that “under the alibi of universality, the government is picking everyone’s pockets.” Party leader Mr Melenchon, who marched with strikers in Marseille, has warned that the government’s bid to standardise pension arrangements undermines collective bargaining agreements and pays no attention to specific circumstances in different lines of work.

Communist leader Fabien Roussel said the plans “attack the principle of solidarity that is the basis of French social protection,” being based on changes to pension calculations that “individualise” pension pots and which Mr Macron says will “encourage some people to work longer”.

Security guard Joseph Kakou had to walk an hour to get home because of the lack of transport, but he told reporters: “It doesn’t please us to walk. It doesn’t please us to strike. But we have to. We can’t work until we are 90 years old.”

This 5 December 2019 Deutsche Welle TV video says about itself:

Much of France has ground to a halt as the country experiences its biggest strike in decades over proposed pension reforms. Many people are taking to the streets and there’s severe disruption to rail lines, schools and hospitals. President Emmanuel Macron’s plans to overhaul the retirement system would force workers to retire later or see their pensions reduced. Union leaders say they will continue the strike until Monday.

Translated from Dutch NOS radio, 5 December 2019:

The national action day was intended as a protest against President Macron’s plans to reform the pension system, but ended in an expression of general anger.

“What is striking is the fighting spirit of many demonstrators,” says correspondent Frank Renout in the radio program Nieuws & Co. “They have had enough of President Macron and think he is breaking down the social system.”

In Nanterre, a small town north-west of Paris, the correspondent noticed that people are willing to continue protests for a long time. “Eg, teachers, they say that the schools should stay closed if necessary.” …

The broad dissatisfaction can be seen in the diversity of action groups. In addition to union members, environmental activists from Extinction Rebellion also took to the streets …

Yellow vests also joined the protests. That movement organized massive protests last year; the group was eventually taken seriously by President Macron. An increase in the minimum wage was announced …

That there are now again large-scale demonstrations is, therefore, a setback for Macron. “The Elysée hasn’t responded yet, but you can imagine that Macron is following the protest with suspicion,” said Renout.

The current demonstrations are partly inspired by the gilets jaunes. “The protesters hope they can repeat the result of the yellow vests and hope that Macron will retreat again after new protests.”

A demonstrator from Nanterre, who spoke to Renout today, has little faith in that. “Macron is a puppet. Large capitalist corporations are pulling the strings. And if they will have had enough of him, then they will be looking for a new one.”

2 thoughts on “Big anti-President Macron strike in France

  1. Pingback: French workers keep fighting against Macron austerity | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  2. Pingback: Big strike in France continues | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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