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The Debate

Only the beginning? Day one of massive strikes against Macron pension reform

THE DEBATE
THE DEBATE FRANCE 24

This time, will Emmanuel Macron meet his match? Macron, who has managed to pass public rail reform and survive the Yellow Vest movement is now facing what could be the start of a long movement against pension reform that brings together hospital workers, teachers, students and even the staff at the Eiffel Tower.  

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Protesters are against the government's plan to scrap the country's 42 individual pension plans. What next for a nation that treasures its social welfare system but which faces an ageing population and growing public debt?

Transport unions, still smarting from repeated cuts in service, have vowed to roll over the strikes. How long will they last? Will they keep public opinion on their side? That may depend on the tone of the protests, with many worn down by the violence of a Yellow Vest movement that eventually petered out after weekly rampages. What does a strike look like in 2019 France?

The French still remember 1995, when the government was brought to its knees by a general strike against pension reform from which then prime minister Alain Juppé never recovered. How well can this government and this president roll with the punches?

Produced by Alessandro Xenos, Juliette Laurain and Jimena Velasco-Morales.

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