Unions plan strikes against pension reform, French premier calls for ‘responsibility’

France’s prime minister on Thursday called on the country’s labor unions to “not penalize” the French people and to consider the daily lives of citizens while protesting the pension reform.

The draft bill, which includes an increase to the retirement age from 62 to 64 in 2030, immediately triggered a wave of outrage from workers and unions when the government announced its preparation last year.

Several unions in France called for demonstrations and strikes after Elisabeth Borne on Tuesday revealed the details of the pension reform.

Borne called on the unions to “not penalize” the French while protesting the reform, and added: “This is a call to responsibility for the unions.”

She said she recognizes the right to strike, but asked to “take into consideration the daily life of our citizens.”

“We are in a complicated period, with a particular worry about the inflation,” Borne said. “Let us find modes of action that will not penalize our citizens.”

The country’s eight main labor unions issued a joint statement on Tuesday calling for a nationwide strike and demonstrations on Jan. 19.

The oil branch of the General Confederation of Labor on Wednesday announced the industrial actions, including walkouts for Jan. 19, Jan. 26, and Feb. 6, with a possible extension and halt to refinery work, according to a statement by the union.

The draft reform is set to be presented to the Council of Ministers on Jan. 23.

Starting from 2027, the change will also require at least 43 years of work to be eligible for full pensions, Borne noted in her statement.

She said the minimum pension would also rise by 85% of the minimum wage, meaning around €1,200 ($1,288) per month.

Source: Anadolu Agency