Tens of thousands join strikes across France over Macron’s plan to raise pension age

More than 250 protests are also expected around the country – with some unions calling for rolling action

Chris Stevenson
Wednesday 08 March 2023 13:52 GMT
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Protesters gather during a demonstration in Marseille, southern France
Protesters gather during a demonstration in Marseille, southern France (Daniel Cole/AP)

Tens of thousands of workers across France have joined nationwide strikes against president Emmanuel Macron’s proposals to raise the country’s retirement age to 64.

There has been widespread disruption to train services, while teachers have walked out, leaving schools to close. Lorry drivers and rubbish collectors have also joined in – with fuel deliveries also halted – on what is the sixth day of nationwide action this year. The difference this time is that some sectors, including rail unions, have called for rolling strikes. “We will continue until the reform is withdrawn,” the head of the hardline Force Ouvriere (FO) union, Frederic Souillot, told RTL radio. Some rolling strikes have already started locally.

More than 250 protests were expected in Paris and around the country against Mr Macron’s showcase pensions legislation, with the bill under debate in the French Senate this week. Tens of thousands of demonstrators took to the streets in Paris, Marseille, Nice and other cities, including Nantes and Lyon, where some minor clashes with police broke out. Public transport and other services were disrupted in most French cities. In Paris, the Eiffel Tower was closed, as was the Palace of Versailles, west of the capital.

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