France in upheaval: Eighth day of pension reform strike and mass protests


France continues to be rocked by strikes and massive demonstrations against the proposed pension reform. The legislative process is now in its final stretch, with a joint committee of seven deputies and seven senators meeting to agree on the final version of the bill. The main focus of the reform is the increase in the minimum retirement age from 62 to 64 years. However, uncertainty remains about whether the bill will be approved in the National Assembly, where President Emmanuel Macron is facing opposition from several parliamentarians from the Republican party who are not guaranteeing their support.

If the bill is not approved in the National Assembly, the government may resort to an article of the Constitution that allows them to avoid voting in Parliament in exchange for allowing the opposition to present motions of no confidence. Meanwhile, the strikes continue to cause havoc across the country, with teachers, public transport employees, refinery workers, port workers, and garbage collectors all participating in the action.

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Paris has become the epicenter of the strikes, with the city accumulating over 7,000 tons of waste on its streets. The Minister of the Interior has warned the mayor, Anne Hidalgo, that he will take action himself if she does not address the situation. However, Hidalgo, who is against the pension reform, may find it difficult to take action given the ongoing strikes.

The strikes are also affecting air travel, with twenty percent of flights cancelled at Orly airport in Paris due to the air traffic controllers’ strike. The situation remains tense, with no end to the strikes in sight. The government will have to work hard to find a solution that satisfies both the protesters and the lawmakers.

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