Thousands march in Paris over rising prices, pension reform

Thousands of people hit the streets of the French capital Paris on Jan. 7 as they demonstrated against President Emmanuel Macron for rising prices and pension reform.

“We went out today for the sake of all the French who are dying of hunger because of the high prices that they can no longer afford,” protester Jamal Bouaban said.

On Jan. 10, Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne detailed plans to make the French work longer, most likely by raising the retirement age to 64 or 65 from 62 currently.

Macron had to put the pension reform on ice in 2020 as the government rushed to contain the COVID outbreak and save the economy.

Now, he can count on tougher union opposition than in 2020, with even the reform-minded CFDT – France’s biggest union – threatening to protest, which it abstained from three years ago despite misgivings about the reform at the time.

“If the retirement age is pushed back to 65 or 64, the CFDT will do what we’ve said we’ll do, we will resist this reform by calling on workers to mobilize,” CFDT head Laurent Berger said last week.

Calls for walk-outs could find more traction this time, with frustrations already running high over the loss of purchasing power during the current inflation crisis.

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