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    France at a Standstill: A Historic Strike for Pension Reform


    On Tuesday, March 7th, France was brought to a standstill by the country’s largest strike in 55 years.[0] Over a million people took part in the protests against a proposed government pension reform plan by President Emmanuel Macron which would raise the retirement age from 62 to 64 and require 43 years of work to earn a full pension. This is part of a larger strategy to address labour shortages and reduce the amount of time unemployed workers can receive full benefits.[1]

    The French public is strongly opposed to the pension reform plan. They argue that the reform is a political choice Macron has decided to make, not an economic imperative.[1] The CGT union has blocked fuel shipments in all refineries in France, and in Paris and other large cities, workers blocked fuel from being delivered to gas stations.[2]

    The Macron government has vowed to go ahead with the pension reform, despite the mass strike. Currently, French workers can retire at 62, and receive their full pension with no penalties at 67.[3] A penalty is applied for each quarter of contribution that is missed.[4]

    The mass strike movement has a historic character, and is a confrontation with revolutionary implications between the working class and the Macron government.[5] With the protests and strikes now entering a decisive phase, all eyes are on what will come next.

    0. “France travel round-up: Strike disruption, rail scam and tomato dig” The Connexion, 3 Mar. 2023,

    1. “The Guardian view on Macron’s pensions reforms: a potential gift for the radical right” The Guardian, 8 Mar. 2023,

    2. “French protests spark chaos for UK travellers as flights, trains and ferries cancelled” Express, 7 Mar. 2023,

    3. “Strong Protests in France, Israel, and Mexico” News For Kids, 9 Mar. 2023,

    4. “For France's 3m ‘precarious workers', retirement age row is a sideshow” EUobserver, 6 Mar. 2023,

    5. “Stop the pension cuts and the war, bring down the Macron government!” WSWS, 8 Mar. 2023,

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