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French unions to stage new strikes and protests in January over pension reform

French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe, French Health and Solidarity Minister Agnes Buzyn and French High Commissioner for Pension Reform Laurent Pietraszewski attend a meeting with labour unions representatives at the Hotel Matignon in Paris as France faces its 15th consecutive day of strikes against French government's pensions reform plans, December 19, 2019.
French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe, French Health and Solidarity Minister Agnes Buzyn and French High Commissioner for Pension Reform Laurent Pietraszewski attend a meeting with labour unions representatives at the Hotel Matignon in Paris as France faces its 15th consecutive day of strikes against French government's pensions reform plans, December 19, 2019. Benoit Tessier, Reuters

French hardline CGT union leader Philippe Martinez said on Thursday unions had decided to hold further strikes and demonstrations on January 9 after a meeting with prime minister Édouard Philippe on pension reform plans during which “nothing changed”, Martinez said.

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Unions oppose Macron's plans to streamline France's state pension system and push people to work until 64, instead of the legal retirement age of 62.

Five out of the eight unions leading the 15-day strike called on further actions and demonstrations on January 9, Martinez announced on Thurday.

 

“The prime minister is committed to the financial balance” of the pension system.“On this matter, there has been no change”, the union leader regretted. “CGT obviously does not share this view, so on behalf of the (CGT CGT, FO, CFE-CGC, Solidaires and FSU) unions, I can announce that a new day of actions will take place on January 9”, he added, saying that "The prime minister hasn't heard what the street is saying".

Prime minister Philippe said progress had been made on Thursday and announced he will hold roundtable discussions with union leaders again "on the first days of January". 

After the meeting, Philippe reaffirmed that the government remained fully committed to end special pension regimes. He also said at a press conference he hoped the pension reform law to be voted on before the summer.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP and REUTERS)

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