By DON McINTOSH
An estimated 1.27 million French workers took part in strikes and protests Jan. 31 to oppose President Emmanuel Macron’s plans to raise the retirement age from 62 to 64 by 2030. Eight major unions took part in the strike, which shut down schools and trains nationwide and curtailed production at oil refineries. It was the second such mobilization in recent weeks. A Jan. 19 walkout drew 1.12 million participants.
French unions say increasing the retirement age would be unfair to blue collar workers who started working at a young age. They say pension finance problems could be solved by taxing the wealthy. Opinion polls show that two-thirds of voters oppose the pension change. Further mobilizations are planned for Feb. 7 and 11.
Macron’s last attempt to overhaul the pension system triggered the longest transport strike in French history, shutting the country for weeks before he backed down.
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