As France begins its Christmas season, it is also steeling itself for what may be the most important general strike since 1995.
The strike begins December 5th, and it is supported by 70% of France. That would normally be enough for a government to pull back such an unwanted change, but Macron has shown week after week that he is willing to brutally repress dissenters.
Act 3, Year 2 of the Yellow Vests was held nationwide, and many Yellow Vests joined a march against rising poverty, high joblessness and Macron’s next right-wing reform to the unemployment system.
‘Strikes are the only way to achieve progress in France’: French unions justify action to paralyse country
Large parts of France will grind to a halt in December, possibly for weeks. We asked four of the country’s biggest unions what they are fighting for and why they believe their strike action justifies the huge level of disruption it will likely cause.
French unions are bracing for December 5th when they go on what is expected to be a hugely disruptive strike, involving railway workers, Metro and bus drivers, hauliers, teachers, airline ground crew, air traffic controllers and postal workers.
Their goal is to force the government to drop a controversial new pension reform.
Explainer: What’s at stake in Macron’s reform of France’s cherished pensions?
WHAT DOES MACRON’S PENSION REFORM AIM TO DO?
Macron wants to set up a single points-based pension system in which each day worked earns points for a worker’s future pension benefits.
That would mark a big break from the existing set-up with 42 different sector-specific pension schemes, each with different levels of contributions and benefits.
Currently pension benefits are based on a worker’s 25 highest earning years in the private sector and the last six months in the public sector.
The president says that a points-based system would be fairer and simpler. It would also put pension funding on a sounder footing as the population ages.
At 14% of economic output, French spending on public pensions is among the highest in the world. An independent pension committee forecast the system would run a deficit of more than 17 billion euros, 0.7% of GDP, by 2025 if nothing is done….