French Senate passes pension bill despite ongoing street protests

A bill that would raise the retirement age in France from 62 to 64 has moved forward with the measure’s adoption by the Senate amid strikes, protests and a large amount of uncollected garbage.

French Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne tweeted Saturday night after the 195-112 vote that she awaits final approval of the bill, hailing a “decisive step towards reform that will future-proof our retirement system.” .

But the legislation must now move through tricky political territory with multiple potential outcomes.

It first addresses a committee of seven senators and seven House politicians to find a compromise between the two chambers’ versions of the text on Wednesday, as unions planned an eighth round of protest marches across the country.

President Emmanuel Macron is unfazed by the accumulation of uncollected rubbish in Paris and other cities due to a strike by garbage workers who oppose the bill and reduced services and supplies in other sectors such as transport and energy.

Macron has turned down a request by the unions to meet him, which leftist CGT union leader Philippe Martinez said amounted to “finger-pointing.”

There has been no response from the government to a union request for a “citizens’ consultation” on the legislation, held on Saturday after a new day of marches that drew far fewer people to the streets than protest marches four days earlier. .

Senate President Gerard Larcher expressed pride in the work of his colleagues after his vote, a day before the deadline, saying the body controlled by the conservative right played its role “with only one goal, to be whatever our feelings, the interest of the country and the interest of the French people.

The unions maintain that the French are expressing their opposition to the reform in the streets and through strikes, continuous although reduced in some sectors.

The government hopes to avoid using a special constitutional power to force the bill through parliament without a vote. Parliamentary approval would give a large measure of legitimacy to the pension plan.


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