© Reuters. Staff on strike maintain CGT labour union flags as they stroll on railway tracks to dam a TGV excessive velocity prepare throughout an indication on the prepare station on the eve of the ninth day of nationwide strike and protests, and after the pension reform was adopted
By Elizabeth Pineau and Benoit Van Overstraeten
PARIS (Reuters) -France’s new regulation elevating the pension age is important and can come into power later this yr, President Emmanuel Macron stated on Wednesday, displaying no signal of relenting within the face of escalating protests throughout the nation.
“Do you assume I get pleasure from doing this (pension) reform? No,” Macron stated in an interview aired on France’s two greatest TV stations. “However there aren’t 100 methods to steadiness the accounts … this reform is important.”
Protests towards the invoice — which lifts the retirement age by two years to 64 — have drawn big crowds in rallies organised by unions since January.
Most have been peaceable, however anger has mounted because the authorities pushed the invoice via parliament with out a vote final week. The previous six nights have seen fierce demonstrations in Paris and elsewhere with garbage bins set ablaze and scuffles with police.
Protesters on Wednesday additionally blocked prepare stations within the southern cities of Good and Toulouse.
The most recent wave of protests, alongside rolling strikes that disrupt oil depots, public transport and rubbish assortment, represents essentially the most critical problem to the centrist president’s authority because the “Yellow Vest” revolt 4 years in the past.
The continuing protests might impression a deliberate state go to subsequent week of Britain’s King Charles, a Buckingham Palace supply stated.
MACRON DECRIES VIOLENCE
Macron stated he revered the precise to peaceable protests however “excessive violence” was not acceptable.
“We’ll make certain a life that’s as regular as attainable can resume within the face of the few that block issues,” he stated.
Saying he had “no regrets,” the centrist president nevertheless added that he wished to enhance his fraught relationship with labour unions and contain them extra in future choices.
Aides had stated forward of the interview that it was geared toward “calming issues down.” However preliminary reactions confirmed it might need fairly the alternative impact.
“Lies!,” the average, reform-minded Laurent Berger, head of the CFDT, France’s largest union, tweeted, accusing Macron of “rewriting historical past” after he stated unions had not provided a substitute for his pension invoice.
Philippe Martinez, who leads the extra hardline CGT union, instructed French media that Macron was mocking employees with what he referred to as an “outlandish” interview.
Labour unions have introduced one other nationwide day of strikes and demonstrations on Thursday.
“We do not need this regulation and we’ll combat till it’s withdrawn,” pensioner Jacques Borensztejn stated at a rally on Tuesday in Paris.
Whereas the opposition has referred to as for Macron to fireside his prime minister, Elisabeth Borne, who has been on the forefront of the pension reform, Macron backed her and stated that he had tasked her with additional widening the bulk.
Macron’s camp misplaced its majority within the decrease home of parliament in elections final yr.
“She (Borne) has my belief to guide this authorities workforce,” he stated.
Polls present a large majority of French are against the pension laws, in addition to the federal government’s choice to push the invoice via parliament with out a vote.
Looking for to regain the political initiative after his authorities narrowly survived a no-confidence vote earlier this week, Macron stated he wished to verify firms share extra of their earnings with employees. Nevertheless, he didn’t spell out how the federal government would obtain this.