In France, hundreds of thousands of people have joined strikes and protests nationwide today, in the latest demonstrations calling on President Emmanuel Macron to cancel a measure raising the age of retirement from 62 to 64. Unions have shut down airports, train stations, schools, garbage collection, oil refineries and more. The strikes came as the head of France’s largest labor union, Laurent Berger, called on Macron to put the deeply unpopular pension reform on hold.
Laurent Berger: “If the trade unions were received by the president of the republic, something which we have been asking for almost a month now, and we were told, 'You cannot talk about pensions,' that would make no sense at all. It would be almost anachronistic. There are millions of people who are opposed to this pension reform and who are demonstrating. If we want to avoid clashes — and I want to avoid them — what the unions are proposing now is a gesture of appeasement to find a way out. It must be seized.”