CASE. Pension reform: strikes, demonstrations … What mobilizations to expect this Thursday, January 19?

Will the call for mobilization against the Pension Reform Bill that was launched on Thursday 19 January be massively followed? Strike rates are high, particularly in transport and education. Success today will depend on the balance of power, while parliamentary debate should start on the hemicycle in early February.

What to expect this Thursday, January 19? Many in executive, opposition or trade union circles want to know this ahead of what may mark, perhaps, the start of a day-long series of mobilizations against the pension reform bill.

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The unions saw great things, expecting “millions” of strikers and demonstrators in the streets, as if remembering the moment of their last major victory against this type of reform. Here we are talking about the “Juppé Plan” of 1995. From mid-October to mid-December roughly that year, the protests were on a very large scale, especially during the second month which saw 2 million demonstrators in the streets some days. according to the union. Alain Juppé ended up folding the retirement component of his plans.

This Thursday, the government initially feared the one million mark would be exceeded, while public information estimates in their notes that several hundred thousand demonstrators are expected to take to the streets. “Yesterday (Monday, editor’s note), we visited our department’s 104 unions (…). It has been a long time since we had such a mobilization”, said the secretary general of the Ouvrières Force, Frederic Souillot.

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January 19th strike: transport, schools closed… What disturbances will this Thursday bring?

The breadth of the various processions in France’s largest cities will undoubtedly be important when evaluating the success of a mobilization or otherwise. But we must not forget about the proportions of the striker at the last count. In transportation, education, energy, absenteeism rates are expected to be high. Snuipp-FSU, the leading primary school union, estimated 70% of the strikes among primary school teachers, with “at least a third of schools being completely closed”. RATP for its part announced that traffic would be “severely disrupted”, whereas on the TGV line, there would only be between 1 train of 3 and 1 train of 5 depending on the axle, SNCF warned. “It will be a tough Thursday, (…) with big distractions”, also anticipated the Minister Delegate for Transport, Clément Beaune, who invited France to use “teleworking whenever possible”.

“We cannot have a handful of people wreaking havoc on millions of French people”, Aurore Bergé, the deputy leader of the Renaissance in the Assembly, whom she feared, enraged the opposition. “Dussopt who wants a strike that doesn’t bother anyone, Aurore Bergé who accuses opponents of reforms of “obstructing social progress”: it’s not enough for them to rot people’s lives, they also have to pay off their heads”, criticized Ian Brossat , spokesman for the Communist Party and deputy the mayor of Paris, where tens of thousands of demonstrators are expected.

Also read:
Strikes against pension reform: power outages, fuel shortages… how the energy sector is moving

It must be said that the trade union opposition to the reforms presented by the executive was complete and complete, and the numerous opinion polls published in the press since the presentation of the project depicted an equally frank opposition from the population. According to an Ifop poll for JDD, 68% of French are hostile to the project, and 51% support social movements; an Elabe survey for BFMTV estimated that six out of seven French people “support” or feel “sympathy” with respect to mobilizing against the project, 46% would even be ready “to mobilize”. A study by the Institut Montaigne shows that only 7% of workers support the idea of ​​increasing the legal retirement age.

But for now, these are just numbers. How about on the street?

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