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  • French workers of the General Confederation of Labor (CGT) during a demonstration on Dec. 24, 2019.

    French workers of the General Confederation of Labor (CGT) during a demonstration on Dec. 24, 2019. | Photo: Twitter/ @RevPermanente

Published 24 December 2019

The strike against the pension system reform enters its twentieth day on December 24th.

France’s public transport workers Tuesday continue their strike against the pension system reform proposed by President Emmanuel Macron, who did not receive a “truce” on Christmas as he had requested on Saturday but without giving anything in return.

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"The strike continues, there is no truce and we're glad about that. It means that people are unhappy, so one needs to deal with it differently and not pretend everything is fine in the country," the General Confederation of Labor (CGT) Secretary Philippe Martinez said.

For the past 20 days, French workers have been protesting against a reform proposal that seeks to create a unique pension system and finance it by increasing the minimum retirement age to 64 years.

In practical terms, this implies that the French government seeks that the maintenance of the system be based on the decrease of the income of workers and not on the increase of corporate taxes.

Unilaterally, Prime Minister Edouard Philippe presented on Monday a calendar of meetings to negotiate with the unions and companies the reform project from January 7.

"Magical! The Paris Opera strikers performed ​​​​​​​a fragment of the Swan Lake this afternoon in front of the Opera Garnier esplanade. A historic moment! Strike on Dec. 24."

On Tuesday, however, Martinez stressed that Philippe has not adequately informed what the content of the discussions would be, for the government only issued a press release on the matter.

The CGT did not guarantee their participation in the "negotiations" and recalled that French workers demand the withdrawal of the reform and resources for social protection.

As a result of President Macron's intransigence, the strike has represented a decrease in revenues of about US$443 million for the state rail company, a figure which will continue to increase as long as the strike continues and the French government is not willing to give up positions.

In this regard, the president of the National Railroad Society (SNCF) Jean-Paul Farandou estimated that about US$22 million is lost for each day of activity stoppage.​​​​​​​

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