Yesterday saw rising tensions between the French government and unions opposed to pension reforms as the crippling transport strike that paralyzed the country entered its 11th day.
The French Democratic Confederation of Labor (CFDT) union warned the government yesterday about calling for new actions in January in the case that the government does not drop a pension reform proposal, its leader announced.
France's CFDT is opposed to transport strikes over the Christmas period and had stayed out of the strike, which has caused travel chaos across the country since Dec. 5. But it said a "red line" had been crossed and called on members to join mass protests tomorrow.
In a major overhaul of its pension scheme, the French government has proposed that people work two years longer to get a full pension, drawing a hostile response from trade unions who said they would step up strike action to force an about-face.
The overhaul, unveiled this week by Prime Minister Edouard Philippe, would do away with the 42 separate pension systems -- some of which offer early retirement and other benefits to public-sector employees such as train drivers, dockers and even Paris Opera employees.
The unions were angered further by Philippe’s proposal of a reduced payout for people who retire at the legal age of 62 instead of the new, so-called ‘’pivot age’’ of 64.
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