REUTERS - Most of France’s main trade unions called a new day of nationwide protest against the government’s pension reform for Nov. 23, a union official said.
The unions called the new day of protest in the face of plunging turnout at protests since the parliament adopted the reform on Oct. 27.
“The trade unions have decided to keep up the mobilisation in unity with a day of national cross-profession mobilisation on November 23,” the CFDT, CGT, FSU, Solidaires, UNSA unions said in a statement after a meeting in Montreuil, just outside Paris.
President Nicolas Sarkozy has refused to back down on his flagship reform despite a series of eight days of mass protests and strikes since September that at their peak caused fuel shortages, transport problems and sporadic violence.
The reform, now awaiting what is expected to be a hitch-free clearance from the Constitutional Council on Tuesday or Wednesday before Sarkozy can sign it into law, will raise the minimum and fully pensionable retirement ages by two years, to 62 and 67 respectively.
Unions led an eighth round of street protests on Saturday with government and union counts showing particpation slumping to a about a third of the level when protests peaked in mid-October.
Cracks have also appeared in unions’ unity over keeping up the pressure on the government. Three groups—the militant Force Ouvriere and the moderate CFC-CGC and CFTC unions—were not backing the call for action on Nov. 23.