Millions protest pension "reform" in France

More than 3.5 million took to the streets throughout France on Tuesday protesting moves to raise the retirement age from 60 to 62. The protests included strikes by rail workers, bus drivers, teachers, other public workers, longshore workers and oil workers who shut down 11 of France's 12 refineries.

The actions shut down many rail and mass transportation lines. Flights were also cancelled or delayed at many French airports causing travel delays throughout Europe. The action by longshore and oil workers raised concerns about gasoline shortages.

This was the largest protest action in France since 1995 when a month of strikes and protest forced the right-wing government of Alain Juppé to abandon similar pension reforms.

This was also the largest action so far in a month of actions against president Nicolas Sarkozy's proposed pension reform. There have been 4 nationwide demonstrations in the last 5 weeks. Each bigger than the previous. The pension plan working its way through the French parliament, would also raise the minimum age to receive a full state pension from 65 to 67.

According to left and labor sources in France what distinguished Tuesday's actions was the growing breadth of those joining the protest. Polls show that 70% oppose the proposed pension law and support the protests. Tuesdays actions not only saw increased union and worker participation, but it also saw mass mobilizations of women and youth. This included high school students from over 300 schools.

The Sarkozy government shows no sign of backing off. In public statements following Tuesday's actions Sarkozy and several government ministers vowed to press on with the pension legislation. It is clear from French labor and left sources that the movement to stop these attacks on retirees will continue and "radicalize" as some put it.

Railway and transport workers voted to continue their strikes on Wednesday while several other unions, in key sectors of the economy decided to continue strike action indefinitely. They plan to have a day by day vote of the members. Others are organizing rolling strikes. Another major action is planned for October 16th.

Many governments in the developed capitalist countries, including the US, are thinking about and proposing similar attacks on pensions (in the U.S. Social Security). Raising age requirements and cutting benefits are favorite themes of the right for shifting the economic crisis onto the backs of older workers. European and even US lawmakers are watching these developments in France. The actions of the French unions and workers will not be lost on workers facing similar attacks in their own countries.

 

Post your comment

Comments are moderated. See guidelines here.

Comments

  • Even if we have lost, we can see that the social movements was more powerful that the other before. People are angry and with the revolutions in Tunisia and in Egypt, a new May 68 would be possible.

    Posted by Yoan M, 04/27/2011 5:43pm (3 years ago)

  • EGALITE' POUR LA FEMME DANS LA REVOLUTION
    Workers of the world, unite!!
    The Roman Slaveholders conquored the natural Matriarchy around 42AD for both Britain and France, and to this day it has not been fully restored in either country although much a do about the dysfunctional man woman question has been the source of much porn over the years.

    The French Revolution had a small proletarian content that was not mature enough and not fully organized enough to take over the state, hence the bourgeoisie in alliance with the former enslavers and the remnant feudal class beat out the workers and their workers state. They installed the rule of the money men. Not the women who remained in an inferior position throughout the French society.

    This latest contest between the workers and the bourgeosie is of a different time and space place. The workers state serves the workers and the bourgeoise state serves the bourgeoisie. The workers cannot achieve full ruling class position until the women are elected equally throughout society so the harmony and joy which is the natural condition of the species can be returned and the end of all exploitation of the labouring classes can take place. That means the workers must take over the means of production and dismantle the war machine and its manufactury.

    Vive La French Revolution!! Egalite' pour la femme dans la revolution. End pollution wars, not endless wars for more pollution. Re-tool to the renewables and quit the dependence on fossil fuels.

    Posted by Josey, 10/21/2010 3:06am (4 years ago)

  • good report, needs a few pictures,though

    Posted by , 10/20/2010 10:36am (4 years ago)

  • The Presidents Fiscal commission might try to raise the retirement age or cut Social Security benefits, later this year.

    Posted by Sean Mulligan, 10/16/2010 2:56am (4 years ago)

RSS feed for comments on this page | RSS feed for all comments