French hardline union calls for more strikes to counter Macron’s pension reform


FILE PHOTO: A protestor holds a box for strike fund donations during a demonstration after 24 days of strike against French government’s pensions reform plans in Paris, France, December 28, 2019. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier/File Photo

PARIS – French hardline union CGT called on Wednesday for more strikes in France this month after president Emmanuel Macron pledged to push through an overhaul of the pension system following weeks of nationwide strikes by trade unions.

Macron said in a traditional New Year’s Eve address on Tuesday that he expected his government to quickly find a compromise with unions on the reform, but without departing from the principles laid out by ministers.

Unions are trying to force the former investment banker to abandon his overhaul of France’s pension system with nationwide strikes since Dec. 5 that have crippled public transport.

“I was under the impression of having heard these words a thousand times,” Philippe Martinez, the head of the CGT union, told BFM television of Macron’s address.

“I still do not see anything new in the government’s position. The alarm signal needs to be louder, we need strikes everywhere,” Martinez said.

Martinez said his organization would take part in a meeting between unions and the government on Jan. 7.