French retirement age strike hits schools and trains

A nationwide strike is under way in France in a second wave of protests against President Emmanuel Macron’s plans to raise the retirement age from 62 to 64.

Eight big unions are taking part in the strike, which is disrupting schools, public transport and oil refineries.

Protests are expected across France, after more than a million people took part in the first day of action earlier this month.

Half of primary teachers are on strike.

The Macron government is pushing ahead with its pension age reforms in the face of opinion polls that suggest two-thirds of voters are opposed to the changes, which begin their passage through National Assembly next week.

Without a majority in parliament, the government will have to rely on the right-wing Republicans for support as much as the ruling parties’ own MPs.

Far-left leader Jean-Luc Mélenchon said France was at a crucial point and predicted an even greater number of protesters than on the first day of action on 19 January. Street protests are expected in all the major cities and in smaller towns too. A reported 11,000 police have been deployed to cover the demonstrations.

There was severe disruption to transport in the Paris area, with one in three high-speed trains running and only two driverless metro lines operating normally. Large crowds were reported on one of the main overground lines in the capital.

Related Articles

Back to top button