LUnion officials called on President Emmanuel Macron on Saturday to “consult the people” on the pension reform, during a press briefing ahead of the Paris demonstration against the government’s plan.
“Since he is so sure of himself, the President of the Republic, he only has to consult the people. We will see the response of the people, ”launched the secretary general of the CGT, Philippe Martinez. “No doubt we must go to a citizen consultation”, also estimated his CFDT counterpart, Laurent Berger. “I implore those who run this country to get out of this form of denial of the social movement”, he also declared, expressing the “stunned” of the activists at the end of inadmissibility of the president of the Republic.
At the call of the unions, opponents of pension reform are demonstrating across the country on Saturday March 11, for the seventh time since the start of the movement. A day of key mobilization at the approach of a decisive week, where the government hopes to see the reform definitively adopted after a chaotic parliamentary course. Asked about France Info on Saturday, the deputy secretary general of the CFDT, Marylise Léon, called on the French to mobilize: “It’s the last straight line (…) It’s now that it’s going to be played”, a-t -she insists.
“We must mobilize, including by blocking”, for his part affirmed on RMC the general secretary of Force Ouvrière, Frédéric Souillot, stressing that “on the roundabouts, the industrial zones, the teams are there and the mobilization, it is massive and determined”.
According to an Elabe poll for BFMTV published on Saturday, 63% of French people approve of the mobilization against the reform, 54% supporting the use of strikes and the blocking of certain sectors. “I am still very determined, because we have experience of past laws which were then repealed”, assured Friday Élodie Boussarie, a teacher from Marseille unionized at SUD, met during an action blocking a congestion charge.
According to police sources, participation on Saturday could reach 800,000 to one million people in the 230 demonstrations planned in France, including 70,000 to 100,000 in Paris, where the demonstration will start at 2 p.m. from Place de la République towards that of the nation. Saturday will mark the second day of mobilization during the weekend, in order to allow employees to participate without having to ask for a day of strike. On February 11, 963,000 people had taken to the streets according to the Ministry of the Interior, and more than 2.5 million according to the CGT.
READ ALSOPension reform: can unions bring France to a standstill?
On Tuesday March 7, the unions had once again shown very strong opposition to the reform project, with a record number of demonstrators (1.28 million people according to the Ministry of the Interior, more than three million according to the ‘intersyndicale) – without succeeding in bringing the country “to a standstill” as they had expressed the wish.
Renewable strikes have been initiated or intensified in several sectors, in particular trains and the air sector, as well as electricity production plants, gas infrastructure or garbage collection. But the traffic is announced almost normal at the RATP on Saturday except on the RER A and B.
Anger stoked by the “single vote” in the Senate
Opposition to the reform could be fueled by the “deafness” of the executive and the temptation to speed up parliamentary debate, the unions have warned. On Friday, the Minister of Labor, Olivier Dussopt, drew the constitutional weapon of the single vote in the Senate, in the face of “methodical opposition” from the left.
READ ALSOPensions: the senatorial left, suffering from “melenchonitis”?
The Upper House has until midnight Sunday to decide, a joint committee bringing together deputies and senators to be held on Wednesday before a final vote in stride in both chambers. But it seems uncertain that the government will manage to find a majority of deputies to approve the text, and it could resort once again to article 49.3 (adoption without a vote), which would place it in a perilous political situation.
“What more do you need to do to be heard? »
“Recourse to 49.3 for a bill that has not been discussed would be an unacceptable form of democratic blockage”, warned Laurent Berger on Tuesday. The general secretary of the CFDT regretted Friday the refusal of the president of the Republic to meet the unions, as they had made the request to him in a solemn letter Thursday. “Sad disregard for workers and social democracy,” he tweeted.
READ ALSOLaurent Berger, what if it was his time?
“When millions of people are in the street (…), when there are strikes and there is nothing opposite, silence, people say to themselves ‘what should we do with more to be heard?” “Lamented Friday the secretary general of the CGT, Philippe Martinez.
“We think that there will still be a lot of people on the street because Macron’s refusal to accept the inter-union letter, the fact of speeding up the voting procedure in the Senate, all the same gives the a sign of a kind of headlong rush by this government. We think it will rather stir up anger than anything else, ”commented to AFP Murielle Guilbert, co-general delegate of Solidaires.
READ ALSOMichel Richard – Pensions: and in the end, who wins?