Paris (EFE).- France lives this Tuesday another day of strikes and protests on a national scale against the pension reform project, which is expected to be as extensive as that of January 19 and will have a reinforced police device.
Up to 11,000 agents throughout the country (a thousand more than in the previous protest), 4,000 of them in Paris, will monitor that the protest develops peacefully, given the fear of the Government that small groups of violent radicals could cause disturbances.
The protest on January 19 was very large, with more than 2 million demonstrators throughout France according to the unions (1.1 million according to the Government) and the objective of the unions is to achieve a similar or even greater mobilization in the 240 marches summoned for today.
Monitoring the strike will be important, especially in transport, since only a third of the high-speed trains (TGV) will circulate, on average.
On international rail lines there will be almost normal traffic on the Eurostars to London and on the Thalys to Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany, but the two trains in each direction of the Paris-Barcelona corridor have been cancelled.
It will also be very difficult to travel by public transport in the Paris metropolitan area, since between two thirds and 90% of commuter trains have been abolished, depending on the lines. The metro will only work at half throttle but the buses will be less affected.
Air traffic controller strikes have forced the cancellation of 20% of flights to or from Orly airport in Paris.
In the case of Air France, this will result in the suppression of 10% of its flights for the day, although it has chosen to preserve all long-haul (intercontinental) flights and none of its routes with Spain will be affected either.
The reform plans to delay the retirement age to 64 years
The unions intend with this day of mobilizations to force the Government to withdraw its reform, which foresees delaying the minimum retirement age from 62 to 64 years and bringing forward to 2027 the extension to 43 years (currently 42) of the contribution period necessary to collect a full board.
In addition, the unions know that they have public opinion on their side, since all opinion polls show a very large majority of French opposition to the project (61% according to a poll published today by the economic newspaper Les Echos.
This is a rejection that in general terms has not diminished since the Government presented its project, on January 10, even despite the multiplication of appearances by members of the Government in the media to insist on the need for reform to ensure the soundness of the pension system in the medium and long term.
In favor of the Executive, a majority of the French have no intention of mobilizing to prevent the reform (73% according to a survey last week).
Despite the pressure, the Prime Minister, Élisabeth Borne, made it clear last Sunday in an interview that the two star measures of the reform (the delay to 64 years of the minimum retirement age and the increase to 43 years of the period of contribution to have the full pension) are something that “is not negotiable”.
The text began to be studied this Monday in commission in the National Assembly, where the parties of the left and the extreme right are opposed, although the government bloc hopes to receive the necessary support from the conservatives to move it forward.