Protesters took to the streets of Paris once again against President Emmanuel Macron’s controversial pension reform bill. Leftist unions are up in arms over his bid to fuse France’s 42 different retirement schemes into a single points-based system. Protestors clashed with riot police as the pension reform bill reached the French National Assembly for debate.
The police tried to keep protesters at bay with batons, before arresting a few.
Yellow Vests and unionist with flares could also be seen joining in with the rally.
A protestor said: “60 percent of the French are against this reform and against a certain number of measures which have been taken before.
“We are under attack from all sides on social justice, in a country that prides itself on its freedom, its fraternity.”
French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe announced a two-year extension of the working period necessary to earn a full pension in December, triggering the anger of workers and trade unions.
Public transport workers walked off the job for a month and a half in December and January.
This caused travel misery for millions, particularly in the Paris region.
The government argues that the changes are necessary to make the system fairer for all.
But critics say they will force most French people to work longer for smaller payouts.
The reforms attempt to overhaul France’s pension system into a universal system that will see pay-outs calculated from whole careers rather than the current last five years of activity.
The pension age will also likely be increased from 62 to 64.
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Strikes and protests have been ongoing for several months in one of the longest-running strikes in French history.
Labour leaders called for renewed strike action on Monday to coincide with the start of two weeks of parliamentary debates.
But there were only minor disruptions to the Paris metro and regional trains were running as normal.
With the government refusing to back down on one of Macron’s signature reforms, opposition MPs have stepped into the fray, hoping to derail the bill by tabling a record 41,000 amendments.
Macron’s centrist Republic on the Move (LREM) party aims to get the bill through parliament before next month’s municipal elections.
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