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  • A protestor holds a box for strike fund donations in Paris, France, Dec. 28, 2019.

    A protestor holds a box for strike fund donations in Paris, France, Dec. 28, 2019. | Photo: Reuters

Published 2 January 2020
Opinion

President Macron keeps on showing that he does not seem to understand why people reject his policies.

The strike of French railway workers against President Emmanuel Macron's pension reform proposal became one of the longest-running protests since it surpassed the 1986 demonstrations with 28 days.

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France: Unions, Yellow Vests, Transporters Take to the Streets

Although this massive demonstration is gaining more and more strength, the president defended, once again, his pension reform. He made no concessions.

During his end-of-year speech, Macron reinforced his position that the pension reform will allow for increased equality among workers and give citizens better-living conditions in the future. His expected stubbornness, however, did not please the French workers.

As of this Friday, for example, the SOS Retraites organization, which brings together 16 liberal professions with autonomous pension systems such as nurses, lawyers, and accountants, called for a new nationwide strike, as local outlet Le Parisien reported.

"It is not Chile but it could be. These are the streets of Marseille, France, this afternoon, on another day of struggle and strike against Macron's neoliberal policies. General strike. January 2. Yellow vests."

On January 6, the Lyon Bar Association called a "total and general" strike to protest against the reform of the lawyers' pension system.

Then, from January 7 to January 10, the Chemistry Federation of the General Confederation of Labor (CGT) convened to accentuate the worker's blockade at the refineries.

At the moment, the Grandpuits site in the department of Seine-et-Marne is completely blocked, and no trucks filled with this fuel have left since Dec. 5.

Minister of Labor Muriel Penicaud and Minister of Solidarity and Health Agnes Buzyn will receive representatives of social groups in their respective ministries during the next few days.

Following what Macron asked his officials in his end-of-year speech, their mission will be  to find a "quick compromise."

The French government wants the resumption of official negotiations with the unions to begin on Tuesday, January 7. The realization of this possibility, however, remains to be seen.

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