France hit by third wave of walkouts over Macron’s pension reform
Paris, Feb 7 (EFE).- Fresh mass protests and nationwide strikes have been called for Tuesday in France against president Emmanuel Macron’s pension reforms.
The third wave following the first two days of strike action last month comes as the government aims to raise the pensionable age from 62 to 64. The legislation is yet to secure a majority in the parliament.
Workers in the public transport, education and energy sectors walked off their job, while 20% of the flights scheduled at the Paris Orly airport are set to be canceled.
France’s National Railway Company (SNCF) had warned over the weekend that up to two-thirds of the high-speed trains would be canceled because of striking employees.
On international railway lines, a quarter of the Eurostar trains heading to London, half of Lyria trains traveling to Switzerland and some of those going to Brussels have been disrupted amid the strike action.
Public transport was affected too, with only two of the 14 metro lines operating normally.
Strikers at the electric utility company (EDF) reduced output by about 4,500 megawatts, equivalent to the power of over four nuclear reactors, but without causing blackouts.
Earlier on the day, Philippe Martinez, leader of the General Confederation of Labour union (CGT), said: “We are dealing with a president – because he is at the heart of all this – who, with his over-sized ego, wants to prove that he is capable of passing this reform.”
French labor minister Olivier Dussopt, meanwhile, defended the reform, saying that he “deeply” believed the reform would be “improving our social model.”
On January 31, police said that some 1.3 million people took part in the second round of protests nationwide but the CGT put the number at 2.8 million.EFE