Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - 01 August 2014 (part 2)

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Coverage of Gaza in the Israeli media

Read more

REPORTERS

1914-1918: The Depths of Hell

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - 01 August 2014

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

Exclusive: Israel's US ambassador speaks to FRANCE 24

Read more

#THE 51%

World War One: The war that changed women’s lives

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

Ségolène Royal goes for green

Read more

THE OBSERVERS

A look back at some of the Observers' best stories

Read more

DEBATE

Argentina Defaults: Kirchner Cries Foul Over 'Vulture Funds' (part 2)

Read more

  • Hamas denies capturing Israeli soldier as Gaza truce lies in tatters

    Read more

  • Exclusive: Israel's US ambassador speaks to FRANCE 24

    Read more

  • Police 'chokehold' caused NYC death, coroner rules

    Read more

  • Air France ground workers to strike on August 2

    Read more

  • Rogue general denies Islamist seizure of Benghazi

    Read more

  • Ugandan court strikes down anti-gay legislation

    Read more

  • 1914-1918: The Depths of Hell

    Read more

  • Regional summit to tackle deadly Ebola outbreak

    Read more

  • French hospital to open wine bar for terminally ill patients

    Read more

  • Video: Tipping is dying out in French café culture

    Read more

  • €2.5 million in cocaine ‘disappears’ from Paris police HQ

    Read more

  • Appeal court keeps French rogue trader Kerviel in jail

    Read more

  • Interactive: France’s new plan to counter jihadism in Africa

    Read more

  • Ukrainian army suffers losses in separatist attack

    Read more

  • Argentinian markets plummet following default

    Read more

  • French Jews speak of growing fear in Paris amid Gaza conflict

    Read more

France

Unions threaten more protests as retirement bill enters final stage

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2010-10-21

As the dust settles after more than a week of protests, how will events unfold as the government finalises its moves to raise the retirement age?

The eight main French unions are meeting Thursday to discuss their strategy for continuing their opposition to government plans to raise the retirement age.

The organisations have been at the forefront of the largely peaceful campaign to prevent the government from unilaterally imposing the new law raising the minimum retirement age from 60 to 62.

On Thursday morning Bernard Thibault (photo), leader of the powerful CGT union, called for further days of protests, likely to take place on October 26.

“There is no treason at all to stop,” he told RMC Radio. “There is no other alternative while the government remains intransigent.”

"We need to continue with massive action as soon as next week," he added. "We will ask the unions for strong action that will allow people to stop work and go on to the streets."

United unions?

The unions are in a position of considerable strength.

Firstly, they have demonstrated an ability to mobilise a huge number of supporters and have the backing of some 70% of the population (according to polls conducted last week).

Furthermore, one important precedent which continues to give the unions heart was the reversal of a 2006 law on work contracts that would have given employers greater flexibility but left new employees with less job security.

That law, put forward by then Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin, had been approved by the Senate but was nevertheless withdrawn after massive protests.

But so far the government has refused to budge in the face of union demands.

Sarkozy insists that he will not back down and is determined to push through the controversial law as quickly as possible. And it may not be as easy as in the past weeks to gather demonstrators at this crucial time.

The unions have the problem of the ten-day half term holiday which begins on Friday.

Not only will less activists be available, but the continued fuel and road blockades will likely not go down well with families embarking on their holidays.

There is also the issue of fringe activists beyond union control who have been engaging in violent confrontations with police, which has undermined the unity and credibility of the protest movement.

Nailing the law to the door

France’s upper house of parliament, the Senate, is busily hammering out the last amendments to the law and should be in a position to vote it in – as is highly expected – by the end of the week.

Once that is done, a cross-parliamentary committee made up of seven MPs and seven senators will be created in order to finalise the text.

This final text will be subject to a further vote in both houses – the National Assembly and the Senate – before the end of the month.

The opposition Socialists, as they are entitled, will undoubtedly demand that the law is examined by the French Constitutional Court before its adoption.

The Constitution Court would have to submit its findings within a month.
 

Date created : 2010-10-21

  • FRANCE

    Navigating the strike: a traveller's survival guide (Oct. 22)

    Read more

  • FRANCE

    French energy supply hit as blockades continue

    Read more

  • FRANCE

    Violent protests have ‘weakened unions’ in retirement battle

    Read more

COMMENT(S)