Black smoke on pensions, France returns to the streets

The first contact between the French government and the trade unions did not last even an hour. After exactly 55 minutes, the trade unionists got up and left the office in Palazzo Matignon. Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne has not even accepted the request of the leaders of the 8 trade union acronyms, for the unconditional withdrawal of the law which increases the minimum retirement age from 62 to 64 years. The first comment was from the leader of the CFDT, Laurent Berger: “It was a failure”. So today the protest returns to the squares of all the cities of France, and it is the eleventh time. Dozens of demonstrators have already blocked access to terminal 1 of the Parisian Roissy-Charles de Gaulle airport. Union leaders and the left have therefore launched an appeal for “massive” demonstrations today.

“Meeting useless. The mobilization will continue”

It was Berger, the man to whom many looked in the majority for a possible first opening in the wall of opposition, who put an end to the meeting: “It happened when the prime minister explained to us that she would not withdraw the reform”, he explained my colleague Frédéric Souillot, secretary of Force Ouvrière. “We will not go forward while millions of workers take to the streets”, Berger underlined, adding with concern that “we are experiencing a serious democratic crisis”. Harsh words, while Sophie Binet, newly elected leader of the CGT (the first woman in the history of the communist union) found them even more drastic: “Useless meeting. The mobilization will continue, one way or another. There is such a level of rejection of this reform in the country that will never enter into force, is not possible”. “We are more determined than ever – echoed Souillot – and we are launching an appeal for a very strong mobilization for tomorrow. In the squares and through strikes”.

Tomorrow appointment number 11

Moderate Borne’s words: “It was a respectful dialogue in which everyone was able to express themselves and was able to listen. Our disagreements on the retirement age did not allow for in-depth discussions. But I think this meeting marks at least a stage important. I remain available, I don’t think I can go on without the social partners”. Tomorrow, appointment number 11 in the squares of France, more than a week after the last mobilization which had brought out a clear decrease in the participants in the marches. In Paris, you start from Les Invalides, towards place d’Italie.