Pension Struggle France

The government in Paris is determined to push ahead with its pension reform, even if this means that strikes could block part of France. That is because the rail workers’ General Confederation of Labour (CGT-Cheminots) initially called for an unlimited strike to take place on 5 December, to protest against the amendment of the special pension schemes included in the government’s reform. Most of the unions have joined the movement: the General Confederation of Labour (CGT), the Workers’ Force (FO), as well as France’s main trade union in the education sector, FSU. The French group of trade unions Solidaires and the teachers’ union SE-UNSA also joined the call.

PARIS — Strikes have disrupted France over the past few weeks, as labor unions angry over President Emmanuel Macron’s planned pension overhauls have ground trains to a halt, kept some schools closed, and taken to the streets to pressure the government.

The protests represent the biggest domestic showdown for Mr. Macron since the Yellow Vest movement last year, and they are testing his reformist zeal as he tries to overhaul a complex but generous pensions system.

The strikes have affected transportation more than any other sector, and have been especially acute in Paris, putting frustrated travelers and weary commuters in the middle of the dispute.

As pressure mounts on the government to end the crisis, here’s what you need to know about the debate.