Paris, Jan 12 (IANS) French unions have called for fresh protests next week to stop the government’s pension reform plan, shortly after the latter announced a concession by temporarily removing the most contested measure of “pivotal age” of 64 — two years beyond the official retirement age.
“Following today’s announcements, not only is the pivotal age not removed, but the prime minister confirms his determination to prolong the retirement age by refusing any increase in social security contributions,” said an inter-union body consisting of the CGT and other hard-left unions in a statement on Saturday.
The unions called for “organizing strike actions and inter-professional convergence across the territory” on January 14 and 15, and “making the 16th a new day of massive inter-professional mobilization of strikes and demonstrations”, reports Xinhua news agency.
It will be the sixth nation-wide action day called by hard-line unions in protest of the government’s plan to merge the current 42-scheme pension regime into a single, point-based system.
Among these unions that want the government to withdraw the reform plan as a whole, the CGT union said in a statement that the government’s proposal to withdraw the pivotal age was nothing but “a smokescreen to get some unions to sign on” to the overall reform.
In a letter to unions leaders made public earlier on Saturday, French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said the government was ready to temporarily remove the pivotal age, or “age of equilibrium” in his term, from the pension reform bill that will be introduced to Parliament in February.
But the government stays firm with the principle of “age of equilibrium”, Philippe said.
As requested by unions, a conference will be set up to study the ways of pension funding, he added.
If the conference ends up with an agreement by the end of April, its proposals will be taken into account by Parliament and the reform bill could be redrafted.
In case of no agreement by the end of the conference, the government “will take necessary measures by order to reach equilibrium by 2027”, warned the premier.