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France at a standstill: strike against Macron’s pension reform

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On Thursday, everything in France, from railways to schools, came to a halt. All French unions have decided to go on strike to protest the pension reform recently published by the government, which plans to delay the retirement age by two years.


  • The pension reform proposed by French Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne and President Emmanuel Macron earlier this year plans to raise the retirement age by two years, to 64 in 2030.
  • Starting this year, there will be a three-month annual increase in the retirement age.
  • French workers will have to complete 43 years of work, from 2027, to benefit from a full pension.
  • At a press conference earlier this month, Ms Bourne said that with these changes “the system will be fiscally balanced” by 2030.
  • Given the life expectancy of French workers – who all benefit from the state pension – and the pension deficit, the government says such a change is necessary.
  • The majority of teachers went on strike yesterday, the public company EDF cut its electricity production and public transport was largely disrupted, reports France 24.

main context

This is not the first time that the French government has proposed changes to pensions and it is not the first time that Macron himself has proposed a comprehensive pension reform. In 2019, amid significant opposition and the looming COVID-19 pandemic, Macron made a similar proposal that he ultimately had to abandon. For nearly 30 years, millions of people have taken to the streets for weeks to oppose the pension reform that President Jacques Chirac eventually abolished.

the shadow

The retirement age in France will remain relatively low compared to other Western countries. Aux États-Unis, l’age minimum pour bénéficier d’une retraite à taux plein is porté de 66 à 67 ans, a processus qui devrait être achevé d’ici 2027. In Italy, the retraite l’age de la retraite is equalement of 67 years. In the UK the age is 66 years, and in Canada and Spain it is 65 years.

Translated article from the American magazine Forbes – Author: Anna Fajoy

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