The government’s decision in mid-March to resort to Article 49-3 of the constitution, which allows the adoption of a text without a vote in Parliament to pass this reform, led to a clear hardening of the protest movement.
In the wake of heavy mobilization on the first of May in France, the unions called on Tuesday for the fourteenth day of mobilization on the sixth of June, to “make the voice heard” for the deputies who must study a bill aimed at canceling the pension reform.
The trade unions said in a statement, “We unifiedly call on our organizations to meet with deputies everywhere, to invite them to vote in favor of this bill. In this context, the trade union federation calls for multiplying initiatives, through a new day for joint action, in particular, strikes and demonstrations on the sixth of June.” .
The unions added that the bill, submitted by a small centrist group, “will for the first time allow national representation to decide on a vote on pension reform.”
The government’s decision in mid-March to resort to Article 49-3 of the constitution, which allows the adoption of a text without a vote in parliament to pass this reform, led to a clear hardening of the protest movement.
Before May 1, the Constitutional Council approved the main part of the reform, and it has been issued.
Anger focuses especially on raising the retirement age from 62 to 64, a measure that unions and demonstrators consider “unfair”, especially to women who work in difficult professions.
The possible vote on the bill on June 8 will be just the beginning of a parliamentary journey, but it will be a blow to the French executive.
“There is a real danger because we are a relative majority,” Labor Minister Olivier Dussopp said Monday.
About 800,000 people turned out for the May 1 rallies across France, according to the police, while the CGT indicated 2.3 million.
And if this number is far from the record levels recorded at the end of January, when 1.3 million people descended, according to the Ministry of the Interior, the mobilization during the first Labor Day on which unions united since 2009 remained strong after 12 days of demonstrations and beyond May 1 is a classic.
‘No return to normal’
The marches witnessed violent clashes, at times, in several cities, including Paris, Nantes (west) and Lyon (east).
540 people were arrested, including 305 in Paris during demonstrations, while 406 police and gendarmes were injured, according to Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin.
“The images we have seen, in particular of a policeman being set on fire with a Molotov cocktail (in Paris), are intolerable and show that the violence has reached a new level,” Prime Minister Elizabeth Bourne said on Tuesday.
For its part, the General Labor Union affirmed that “the mistrust is deep and the dialogue cannot be resumed unless the government proves its willingness to take the trade unions’ proposals into account,” noting at the same time that “the government announced the opening of a round of consultations without specifying the goal or frame precisely.
Likewise, the leader of the radical left deputies, Mathilde Banno, said that “there will be no return to normal” in this country as long as the pension reform continues.
“I feel angry and resentful at the disdain of this government,” said Lucy Acker, 42, in Strasbourg (east).
“I am disgusted that the pension reform is going into effect. I even feel kind of offended that we have been so ignored,” she added.
And while France is one of the European countries where the retirement age is among the lowest, but with very different systems, the government justified its project by the need to respond to the decline in the finances of pension funds and the aging of the population.