Paris (EFE).- France faces the first day of strikes and demonstrations this Thursday, which could paralyze part of the country, to protest against the government’s pension reform plan that will extend the minimum retirement age to 64 years.
Transport will be one of the most affected sectors. Orly international airport, one of the main ones in France, will have one flight out of five cancelled, high-speed rail lines will be “strongly disturbed” and the Paris-Barcelona line will not work either.
Metros and buses in large cities, such as those in the capital, will also suffer significant disruptions.
Likewise, public services such as schools will be affected, as well as important infrastructure such as refineries. It is also expected that many health professionals will support the strike.
The objective of the unions is that this Thursday is the beginning of large mobilizations that force the Executive to back down, just as they achieved in 1995 when a pension reform project with the conservative president Jacques Chirac was withdrawn due to intense pressure from the street, even despite the government’s absolute majority in Parliament.
The unions expect some 750,000 protesters across the country, with between 50,000 and 80,000 in Paris alone. In 1995, the concentration of two million people in a single day was the trigger for the withdrawal of the Executive reform project.
The Government has urged that union mobilization not become a “blockade of the country.”
For his part, the Minister of the Interior, Gérald Darmanin, warned of the possible arrival in Paris of a thousand people linked to the ultra-left or the most radical branch of the “yellow vests” who could cause violent acts.
A total of 10,000 police officers, of which 3,500 will be stationed in Paris, will ensure that the day runs without incident throughout the country, as announced by the Ministry of the Interior.
This pension reform project, disclosed last week, has received the direct rejection of all the unions and the left-wing parties, including the far-right of Marine Le Pen, and could only receive the support of the conservative party, Los Republicanos, that would be enough for parliamentary approval.
The government proposal plans to raise the minimum retirement age from 62 to 64 by 2030 and bring forward the increase from 42 to 43 years of contribution to 2027 in order to enjoy a full retirement (until now planned for 2035).
The Government insists that its proposal takes into account those who started working before the age of 20 and also those who for medical reasons must retire before the age of 64.
For this reason, it ensures that 40% of future pensioners will be able to retire before the age of 64.
The Executive ensures that the reform is necessary because otherwise it will generate a deficit in the pension system that would reach 12,500 million euros in 2030, while the detractors of the project believe that the ultra-rich and the benefits of capital could be taxed to get that money.