As President Emmanuel Macron weighs whether to move through with proposals to alter the pension system, the one-day strike is considered as a test of the unions’ capacity to organise support and a gauge of future societal discontent.
According to CGT union leader Philippe Martinez, whose union is at the forefront of Thursday’s protests, “for us this is a beginning point, the commencement of a movement.” Martinez made these comments to France 2 Television.
The more moderate CFDT union rejected the strike demand, but its leader, Laurent Berger, has threatened later this year protests if the government pushes through with drastic pension reforms too quickly.
Companies across Europe, both public and private, are hearing from their staff that they need higher wages to help them cope with the cost of living problem.
Philippe Martinez said on BFM, “Wages must be increased as there is a buying power crisis in the country.”
The CGT supports a minimum salary of €2,000 ($1,947.80), a 32-hour work week, and retirement at age 60. Its members include businesses in the transportation and energy industries. Martinez encouraged other unions to join the strike.
We need all the unions to work together if we want to win,” he said.
The TotalEnergies Gonfreville refinery was closed and supplies were hampered this week as a result of a strike by CGT workers.
Workers in the nuclear power industry are anticipated to participate in Thursday’s industrial action, further reducing electricity generation in France at a time when the country is experiencing a record number of nuclear reactor outages.
The SNUipp-FSU union, which represents teachers in primary schools in France, predicts that ten percent of Paris’s elementary schools will collapse over the next five years.
Predictions of strike participation suggest that commuter rail services into the city and metro operations will see minimal disruption. The majority of Washington, DC buses, on average, should operate on a daily basis.
($1 = 1.0268 euros)