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  • Citizens attend a demonstration against President Macron’s pensions reform in Paris, France, Jan. 24, 2020.

    Citizens attend a demonstration against President Macron’s pensions reform in Paris, France, Jan. 24, 2020. | Photo: Reuters

Published 24 January 2020

Protests are getting bigger as more people understand that the French government's reform proposal will require people to work longer for a full pension.

France’s General Confederation of Labor (CGT), the Unitary Federation of Trade Unions (FSU) and other organizations called on citizens to join the 51st day of protests against President Emmanuel Macron’s pension reform.

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Today, the seventh national strike will include torch marches that will be held in Paris and 150 smaller cities and communes

"Our determination remains intact," Yves Veyrier, head of the Force Ouvriere union, said ahead of a street march in Paris. "We have weeks, months, of protest ahead of us."

Macron wants to merge 42 different pension schemes, each with their own levels of contributions and benefits, into a single system.​​​​​​​ His proposal, however, not only has to do with the pension system.​​​​​​​

The French president wants to introduce labor flexibilization, for he thinks that greater job mobility will prompt a more flexible labor market and a more internationally competitive economy.

Under pressure from the massive protests, Prime Minister Edouard Philippe yielded in the attempt to increase the minimum retirement age for a full pension by two years to 64, although he still insists the reform must result in a balanced pension budget by 2027.

That small concession did not convince the French, for they understand that the Macron's reform will require people to work longer for a full pension.

"I still believe in our fight," said Karine, a citizen who carried a banner reading 'We Shall Overcome'.​​​​​​​

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