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Is France’s work-life balance under threat?

On Monday March 13 at 19:30 GMT:
A plan by the French president to raise the minimum retirement age has sent workers across the country onto the streets and prompted unions to announce indefinite strikes.

Police say at least 368,000 people in French cities and towns took part in demonstrations on March 11 against Emmanuel Macron’s proposals to raise the age of eligibility for a state pension from 62 to 64 by 2030. Four days earlier, at least 1 .2 million people participated in protests.

Since state pensions in France are financed by taxes paid by employees and employers, Macron and French ministers say raising the retirement age is the only way to ensure that enough money is available to provide pensions to pensioners living longer than in decades past. Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne has also proposed increasing the number of years a person must work to qualify for a full pension. The government warns that France should not risk a widening national pension deficit when tackling other sovereign debt problems.

Macron hopes to gain enough support in parliament to push through the pension changes, with the country’s senate voting to approve the measures. But unions and workers are outraged by the government’s plans, pointing out that the minimum retirement age was brought up only 13 years ago. Polls say most French people are against raising the retirement age, and some unions have vowed to hold a series of rolling strikes to pressure Macron to withdraw his proposals. Women, studentsAnd undocumented workers are among protesters who say they will be particularly hard hit if the minimum retirement age is raised.

In this episode of The Stream, we take a look at the growing pensions gap in France and wonder what the impasse means for workers, employers and the government.

In this episode of The Stream we are joined by:
Gaelle Martinez, @Union Solidaires
Spokesman, Union Solidaires

Cole Stranger, @ColeStrangler
colestanger. com

Ariane Bogain, @BogainAriane
Professor of French Politics, University of Northumbria