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On Tuesday evening, major French unions held an emergency meeting in Paris, where they agreed on two fresh demonstrations on March 11 and 15.
On Tuesday, some 3.5 million people protested across France on against President Emmanuel Macron's pension reform plan. This represented a record number since the nationwide mobilization began, the General Confederation of Labor (CGT) pointed out.
The French national railway company SNCF only ran one in five high-speed trains, with other train services also heavily disrupted. In the Greater Paris region, only one in three trains were running on most metro lines during morning and evening peak hours.
Fuel shipments were also suspended in all refineries across France. Meanwhile, about half of the employees at electric giant EDF downed tools in solidarity with the protests. The CGT's energy and mine sector said that some 80,000 people working in the energy and gas industries went on strike on Tuesday.
All public service sectors have already announced an extension of the strikes on Wednesday. Major French unions held an emergency meeting in Paris Tuesday evening, where they agreed on two fresh demonstrations on March 11 and 15.
The tweet reads, "Demonstration and strike today in France against the President Emmanuel Macron's pension reform. This project proposes postponing retirement from 62 to 64 years."
They also requested a meeting with President Macron. "Six huge mobilizations have received no response, it cannot go on," the unions said.
During questioning of Labor Minister Olivier Dussopt in the National Assembly on Tuesday, he defended the government's pension reform plan as "necessary."
The French pension system is "heavily and structurally" in debt, he said, and the deficit could reach as much as US$14.2 billion by 2030. Therefore, a reform that requires people to work two extra years is necessary to preserve the whole French pension system, he said.
Under Macron's pension reform plan, the legal retirement age will be progressively raised by three months a year from 62 to 64 by 2030. As from 2027 at least 43 years of work would be required to be eligible for a full pension.
#France | Workers held another day of protests against the reform of the pension system promoted by the government of President Emmanuel Macron, which aims to raise the retirement age from 62 to 64 years. pic.twitter.com/dAQTK80LAg