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‘Let’s stop France’: oil refineries blocked and trains stopped in protest against pension reform

WorldEurope'Let's stop France': oil refineries blocked and trains stopped in protest against pension reform
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Empty courtyards and platforms at the Gare de l’Est railway station in Paris on March 7, 2023, as renewed strikes and protests are planned against the government’s controversial pension reform.

Christophe Archambault | AFP | Getty Images

Strike action in France over plans to raise the pension age caused widespread disruption on Tuesday as trains ground to a standstill, many schools closed and fuel deliveries from refineries halted.

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State railway operator SNCF warned passengers to cancel or postpone travel if possible, while Eurostar advised ticket holders to check whether their train was running. Most metro services were also cancelled, as were some flights from Paris’s Charles de Gaulle and Orly airports.

Unions are demanding French President Emmanuel Macron to end it expansion plan The retirement age is 62 to 64 years and workers are required to contribute to France’s common pension fund for 43 years before receiving the full pension.

Macron has been looking for years to reform the pension system, which is projected to have an annual deficit of 10 billion euros ($10.73 billion) every year between 2022 and 2032, according to France’s Pensions Advisory Council. Most of the people have strongly opposed this move.

over a million people marched across the country in late January to protest the plans. The Sangh representative aims to bring two million people on the streets on Tuesday.

Unionists gather ahead of a strike vote at the Exxon-Mobil Port Jerome Gravenchon refinery in Port-Jerome-sur-Seine near Le Havre on March 7, 2023.

Lou Benoist | AFP | Getty Images

Eric Cellini, a representative of the CGT union at TotalEnergies, told Reuters the strike blocking the Gonfreville refinery in Normandy would last until Thursday. Another at the Donges refinery in western France is scheduled to last until Friday, he said.

The head of French supermarket group Les Mousquetaires Thierry Cotillard said the blockages could lead to petrol shortages until the end of the week. Said,

“Let’s stop France!” a coalition of unions said in a statementbranding the reforms “unacceptable and wasteful.”

Police protest outside Roubaix police station in northern France on March 7, 2023, the sixth day of nationwide rallies held since the beginning of the year.

Samir al-Daumi | AFP | Getty Images

The strike comes at a time when French workers are grappling with red-hot inflation, which unexpectedly accelerated in February 6.2% year on year.

Nearly two thirds of the public support opposition to pension reforms, according to a Ellabe Survey,

But a large number of people are taking to the streets dipping In February, several unions called for rolling, open-ended strikes to voice their protest.

'Quick and dirty can happen': how Macron could pass a major pension reform

Macron will try to get his plans passed in parliament by the end of next month, but may also resort to special constitutional powers to push them through. The latter move would risk triggering a motion of no confidence and new parliamentary elections, which he is gambling he can avoid.

Macron’s Renaissance Party – formerly La République en Marche! – Does not have an absolute majority in parliament, but is supported in reforms by some members of the conservative Les Republicans.

Renaud Foucault, a senior lecturer in economics at Lancaster University, told CNBC’s “Squawk Box Europe” that he believes Macron had a better chance of passing the law when he proposed a more complex set of reforms four years ago. was suggested.

Balancing the books essential to the survival of France's pension system, says lawmaker

“This reform is necessary,” Alexandre Holroyd of the Renaissance political party told CNBC’s “Squawk Box Europe” last month, citing the extent of projected losses and increases in life expectancy.

“It’s a tough fix. Listen, we’re asking people to do more. We understand it’s tough, but the responsible thing to do here is balance the books and make sure it’s a great The pension system that we have can survive for the next one.” 40 years like it has been for the last 40 years.”

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