Pension reform: the French government on hot coals

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Reform pensions: the French government on hot coals

Two motions of censure will be tabled against the French government on Monday.

Protests took place in several cities in France on Monday. Above, protesters in Perpignan, in the south-west of the country.

Angry demonstrations and blockages continue Monday in France, shortly before the vote in the Assembly on two motions of censure targeting the government, reviled for its passage in force on the highly contested pension reform.

The deputies will vote on two motions, one transpartisan tabled by the centrist independent parliamentary group Liot, and the other by the National Rally (RN, far right), in a context of intense tensions.

These motions follow the government's appeal on Thursday to Article 49.3 of the Constitution, which allows a text to be adopted without a vote if no motion of censure succeeds.

Emmanuel Macron, the true initiator of 49.3 and who had remained silent on the subject since Thursday, in a message to the Presidents of the Senate and of the Assembly sent to Agence France -Presse (AFP), expressed its wish that the text on pensions can go to the end of its democratic journey with respect for all.

After two months of consultations and intense union and popular mobilization against the project, the forced passage of the executive has been reviled by the opposition.

Since the January 19, hundreds of thousands of French people demonstrated eight times to express their rejection of this reform, the flagship measure of which, the increase in the legal retirement age from 62 to 64, crystallized anger .

Protesters took to the streets in their hundreds of thousands across the country in February. (File photo)

Opponents of the reform consider it unfair, especially for women and workers in arduous jobs.

This opposition will have to be united in the Assembly on Monday, from the far right to the radical left, and count on around thirty votes from Les Républicains deputies (LR, traditional right) to overthrow the government, which does not has only a relative majority in the Assembly.

An unlikely scenario, but not impossible, as pressure mounts on parliamentarians.

< p class="e-p">Monday, demonstrations on road interchanges or on ring roads in several cities led to traffic slowdowns or blockages.

In Rennes (west), the blockades caused by demonstrators caused major traffic disruptions and were then lifted at the end of the morning. This type of action makes it possible to talk with people, to explain why we are doing this, and also to show the dissatisfaction of the streets in France and internationally, told the ;AFP Erwann and Florian, two computer science students present at a blockage.

In Paris, garbage collection is still disrupted despite requisitions ordered by the prefect.

Trash has been piling up, especially in Paris, since garbage collectors went on strike to protest against pension reform proposed by the French government.

If the reform is passed, garbage collectors and sanitation workers will retire at 59 instead of 57.

Every day, I get up at 4:45 a.m. to carry, in pairs, between 6 and 16 tons of garbage. I have tendonitis in both elbows. Lower back pain, we don't even talk about it anymore. We are marked in the body by work, sighs Karim Kerkoudi, 53, Parisian garbage collector with 21 years of experience, interviewed near an incineration site in the Paris region where around thirty people – strikers and their supporters – are collected.

The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGAC) has asked airlines to cancel Tuesday and Wednesday 20% of their flights at Paris-Orly and Marseille-Provence (south-east).

Many gas stations across the southeast were hit by fuel shortages on Monday, amid shipping strikes at refineries.

Several French people are worried about fuel shortages caused by shipping strikes at refineries and are queuing to make sure you can refuel.

And Parisian students voted on Monday to occupy the faculty of Tolbiac, an emblematic university site in the capital.

France is one of the European countries where the legal retirement age is the lowest, without the pension systems being completely comparable. The government has chosen to extend working hours to respond to the financial deterioration of pension funds and the aging of the population.

Number of analysts believe that this pension reform and the protests it has generated will already leave an indelible mark on the second five-year term of Emmanuel Macron, who had made this project the symbol of his desire for reform .

In a note on France, the financial rating agency Moody's estimated that the highly contested use of article 49.3 will make it difficult to enact future reforms.

This government decision is likely to complicate future attempts to legislate and implement structural macroeconomic reforms during the remainder of the term by Emmanuel Macron.

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