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    France’s Pension Reform Protests: What You Need to Know

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    Pension Reform Protests in France: What You Need to Know

    France is experiencing a wave of protests across the country aimed at defending one of the most important parts of the French welfare system: their pension system. President Emmanuel Macron is determined to reform the pension system, and is pushing to increase the retirement age from 62 to 64, and then eventually to 65.[0] This has been met with a staggering 67% disapproval rate by the French population, and for the first time in years, many of the most powerful unions are standing together against the government.

    The protests have continued to escalate, with a major disruption planned for March 7th, when a nationwide transport strike is set to take place.[1] French Air Traffic Controllers have announced that they will be striking from March 7th to the 9th, with the most severe disruption expected to take place on March 7th and 8th.[2]

    As a result, airlines have been asked to reduce their schedules by 20% at Charles de Gaulle Airport and 30% for Orly. This has caused the cancellation of some flights on March 7th. Meanwhile, Paris-Beauvais Airport, Bordeaux–Merignac Airport, Lille Airport, Lyon-Saint Exupery Airport, Nantes Atlantique Airport, Marseille Provence Airport, Montpellier-Mediterranee Airport, Nice Cote d'Azur Airport, and Toulouse–Blagnac Airport have all been asked to reduce flight schedules by 30 percent.

    The government is arguing that raising the retirement age is necessary to maintain the solvency of the pension system as demographics shift. However, unions are saying that small increases in contributions could be enough to keep the pension system solvent, and that raising the retirement age would be unfair, particularly to low-skilled workers and women.[3] The protests have been growing in size, and the largest is expected to be in Paris, with attendance possibly reaching into the tens of thousands.[4]

    0. “Protests and disruption in France as transport workers start strikes” The Guardian, 7 Mar. 2023, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2023/mar/07/france-braced-for-huge-disruption-as-transport-workers-start-rolling-strikes

    1. “Opinion | Macron's retirement reforms undermine the French republic” The Washington Post, 4 Mar. 2023, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2023/02/25/france-retirement-reforms-macron/

    2. “French Air Traffic Controller Strike March 7 – 9, 2023” LoyaltyLobby, 3 Mar. 2023, https://loyaltylobby.com/2023/03/02/french-air-traffic-controller-strike-march-7-9-2023

    3. “Massive nationwide strike hits France over pension reform” Al Jazeera English, 7 Mar. 2023, https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2023/3/7/1-28m-people-protest-macrons-pension-reform-plan-ministry

    4. “France: Aviation sector unions join call for nationwide strikes and demonstrations March 6-10 /update 1” Crisis24, 3 Mar. 2023, https://crisis24.garda.com/alerts/2023/03/france-aviation-sector-unions-join-call-for-nationwide-strikes-and-demonstrations-march-6-10-update-1

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