Ahead of New Year, France has been gripped by protests and strike action over the proposed pension reforms. According to international media reports, the nationwide strike has brought transport to a standstill as the demonstrators have dismissed the Prime Minister's proposals on changing the pension system. Many tourist hotspots have also seen violent clashes between the police and the protesters and the workers' union have reportedly joined hands with the Yellow Vest protesters.
French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe in a speech outlined the government's planned pensions overhaul. He reportedly said that the 42 separate state-funded pension plans will be combined into a single points-based system. The French government is adamant on pushing the pension reform ahead and the next round of talks between the government and the union leaders will be held on January 7. With the pension reform, the government will be introducing France's first-ever minimum pension set at €1,000 per month. The legal retirement would remain 62, however, an additional two years of work would be required from 2027 for people to leave with a full pension.
Thousands of French citizens swarmed the streets in France on December 17 in a standoff igniting transport strikes. The French interior ministry said that approximately 6,15,000 people took part in the protest in marches spread across the country, with 76,000 people protesting in the French capital. According to reports, about 1.8 million people were protesting across the entire country, higher than the 1.5 million counts observed since December 5.
Doctors, teachers and workers at the Eiffel tower walked off from the job to resist pension reforms proposed by President Emmanuel Macron. The government further added that the new system will be more transparent and fair to the people and will also especially improve pensions for women and people having a low income. However, critics are of the opinion that the change in the pension system could force people numbering in millions to work beyond the age of 62 (official retirement age), by setting the official retirement age at 64 that would ensure a full pension.