Protests continue in France against plan to raise retirement age
Paris, Jan 26 (EFE).- People marched in this capital Thursday to denounce French President Emmanuel Macron’s proposal to raise the retirement age from 62 to 64 amid job actions in the energy and transportation sectors ahead of a general strike planned for Jan. 31.
Jean-Luc Melenchon, leader of the leftist La France Insoumise (France Unbowed), joined the torchlight procession in Paris, which took place hours after leaders of eight labor federations held a press conference outside parliament to denounce the pension overhaul.
France 24 news said that employees at oil refineries and power plants initiated a 48-hour walkout on Thursday, while dockworkers launched a 24-hour shutdown.
Polls show that 72 percent of the French are opposed to the change in the retirement age and more than 1 million people took part last Saturday in protest against the plan.
But Macron’s government has indicated no willingness to reconsider the proposal, insisting that raising the age of eligibility is essential to preserve the pension system.
Labor unions have suggested raising taxes on the wealthy as an alternative solution.
French daily Liberation focused Thursday on another facet of the protests, reporting on employees of the EDF utility who have taken to disconnecting the meters of some electricity users, notably public institutions such as hospitals and community centers, to shield them from soaring energy prices.