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French unions vow to intensify the fight against the rise in pension age

FRENCH unions vowed today to intensify the fight against the rise in the state pension age from 62 to 64 after President Emmanuel Macron insisted on Monday that the change was needed to keep the system afloat as the population ages.

In many cities, opponents of the changes signed into law by Mr Macron on Saturday took to the streets to bang pots and pans during Mondays televised address to the nation over the crisis that has engulfed the country.

Many shouted: “Macron won’t listen to us? We won’t listen to him!”

In Paris, the gatherings quickly turned into spontaneous demonstrations in several neighbourhoods, with some people setting fire to trash cans as police attempted to disperse the crowd. 

Critics label the changes as unfair, arguing that the government should raise taxes on the wealthy or employers instead.

In his address, Mr Macron acknowledged “anger” over increasing prices and jobs that don’t “allow too many French people to live well.”

But he said the changes would “guarantee everyone’s pension.”

He admitted he could not “remain deaf to this demand for social justice and for our democratic life to be renovated.”

President Macron added that his "door was open” for a meeting with unions over the issue that has seen his popularity plunge to its lowest in four years.

But Sophie Binet, general secretary of the CGT union federation, described the president’s speech as “completely out of step with the aspirations of employees.

“On which planet does Emmanuel Macron live? This speech could have been made by Chat GPT! (A smartphone AI assistant.)

Ms Binet added that unions are organising “an exceptional” May 1 International Workers Day protest with the presence of “unions from all over the world.”

French Communist Party general secretary Fabien Roussel said the country faced “a democratic problem.”

“What are we left with when the deputies can no longer vote and the street is no longer listened to?”



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