The French Senate votes in favor of delaying the retirement age while the mobilizations continue

French Senate votes in favor of delaying the retirement age

The French Senate, thanks to the right-wing majority in the upper house, has supported the delay in the minimum retirement age from 62 to 64, the main point of President Emmanuel Macron’s pension reform. The vote, which lasted until early Thursday morning, took place after Tuesday was the sixth day of mobilizations, the largest since the start of the protests in January.

After midnight, 201 senators spoke in favor of what is already the well-known article 7 of the bill which increases by two years the age at which the French will have to wait to assert their rights to retirement, while 115 spoke against and 29 abstained.

The vote took place at the end of a parliamentary scuffle that lasted for more than 15 hours and in which that article was discussed, with the left having presented hundreds of amendments to obstruct the debate and the right resorting to an exceptional device that allows them to be skipped.

The Minister of Labor Olivier Dussopt was satisfied but prudent, aware that this partial progress for his project was based on support from the right that will be essential for him to move forward in the conciliation phase between the two parliamentary chambers.

Dussopt considered that it was “a vote of responsibility by the Senate, which has opted to follow the Government”, and expressed his wish that all the articles can be discussed and adopted between now and the deadline for processing in the Senate, midnight on Sunday.

But the big winner of the night was the head of the parliamentary group of the classic right-wing party The Republicans, Bruno Retailleau, whose senators were the fundamental supporters of article 7: 127 spoke in favor and only 2 against.

Massive mobilizations

Beyond this vote and the parliamentary process, which could end next week, the great stumbling block for Macron is the massive street protests organized by all the unions gathered in an unprecedented union in France.

Last Tuesday the biggest protest took place since the mobilizations began in January: 1.28 million people, according to the Ministry of the Interior, or 3.5 million, according to the CGT, took to the streets throughout France and tried to stop the country.

Although the centrals did not paralyze the country -as they had announced-, they have called for two new days of action, on Saturday 11 and Wednesday 15 March and asked that Macron urgently receive them, as they are demanding the withdrawal of his reform project of pensions.

Meanwhile, strikes continue in certain sectors, particularly public transport and energy. Rail and air traffic will be interrupted again this Thursday and both today and tomorrow 20% of flights will be suppressed in Charles de Gaulle and 30% in Orly, as well as in Beauvais, Bordeaux, Lille, Lyon, Nantes, Marseille, Montpellier, Nice and Toulouse. In addition, garbage collection in cities like Paris will be irregular.

Workers at TotalEnergies‍ voted overwhelmingly to stop production at the Feyzin refinery near Lyon, hardening their strike, which until now had only blocked shipments in the center.

Opinion polls show a majority of voters oppose President Macron’s plan to push the retirement age back to 64, but the government stands firm, saying political change is essential to ensure the system doesn’t break. FOLLOW THE TOPICS THAT INTEREST YOU