French workers stage 2nd mass strike over pension reforms

According to France’s largest union CGT, at least 500,000 people participated in this second demonstration against the pension reform. On Jan. 19, the CGT counted 400,000 participants.

People across France took to the streets again on Tuesday to protest against the government’s controversial pension reform plan. The first nationwide strike was held on Jan. 19.

According to the CGT, France’s largest union, cited by Le Figaro newspaper, at least 500,000 people participated in this second demonstration against the pension reform. On Jan. 19, the CGT counted 400,000 participants.

In the country’s major cities, the local authorities also registered more demonstrators than on Jan. 19. In Marseille, the Prefecture reported 40,000 demonstrators against 26,000 on Jan. 19, Le Figaro reported.

Rail traffic was severely disrupted. Many trains were canceled, in particular regional ones and those serving the suburbs of Paris.

Workers at France’s largest electricity company EDF also continued their strike. The rate of strikers at EDF reached 40.3 percent at midday, the group’s management said.

French civil servants were also joining the strike, albeit in lower numbers than on Jan. 19. According to the Ministry of Civil Service, only 19.4 percent were on strike at midday on Tuesday.

The education sector was also mobilized. The rate of striking teachers was 25.92 percent, the Education Ministry said.

On Jan. 10, France’s Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne laid out details of the government’s controversial pension reform plan, which would progressively raise the legal retirement age by three months a year from 62 to 64 years by 2030 and would put in place a guaranteed minimum pension.

Borne told a press conference that starting in 2027, people will have to work 43 years to qualify for a full pension.

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