protests across France for wages and pensions

Interprofessional demonstration for purchasing power, in Paris, September 29, 2022.

It was the first day of strike and interprofessional mobilization since the start of the school year. And the first since the re-election of Emmanuel Macron in April. Thursday, September 29, more than 200 processions formed throughout France at the call of the CGT, the FSU, Solidaires and student and high school organizations (UNEF, FIDL, MNL and La Voix lycéenne), which brought together more than 250,000 people, according to figures from the CGT (the police have not yet communicated theirs). With protesters determined to show their strength, as the fall promises to be eventful on social issues. And even if Emmanuel Macron had chosen, the day before, to temporize about the pension reform by opening a new cycle of consultations with the social partners and the country’s political forces, with a view to a comprehensive bill “before the end of winter”.

Because if the pension reform, and especially the question of raising the legal retirement age, was obviously part of the watchword of the day, the mobilization had initially been launched to demand an increase in wages, pensions, scholarships and social minima in the face of inflation. “The message is clear: it is wages that need to be increased, not the legal retirement age”has also launched the secretary general of the CGT, Philippe Martinez, before the demonstration starts in Paris, around 2 p.m.

In the procession of the demonstration, in Paris, on September 29, 2022.

“If there is a desire to make a bad pension reform, there will be people in the street to say so”, Nathan, 33, statistician

In the capital, in the procession that marched between Place Denfert-Rochereau and Bastille, the claims of some 40,000 demonstrators gathered, according to the organizers, often showed a general fed up with government policy. Mélaine Marot, 34, is there against “general government policy”. “It is made by the rich and for the rich. And against the poor in general, against the workers”, judges this childcare assistant on a temporary basis, in Paris and in the suburbs. Same story with Benjamin Fradet, 27, technician in a laboratory of the National Research Institute for Agriculture, Food and the Environment: “It’s the whole social package of the government that we have to fight. The reform of unemployment insurance, that of the RSA, that of pensions… The promise is the same: to work more to earn less, it is unsustainable. »

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“Since 2011, every year, I have lost purchasing power, due to the under-indexation of the index point in the public service compared to inflation”, laments for his part Nathan, 33, statistician at Insee. Before warning: “If there is a will to make a bad pension reform, there will be people in the street to say it. » A possibility, which occupies the minds. Nouredine Medouni, 53, employee of the Transdev transport group and UNSA union representative, says so “in total opposition to this pension reform project”and judges political leaders “increasingly above ground”. “We want to make people work longer, but for what? To receive more in pensions? I do not believe it. We don’t have a policy that makes sense, that prepares for the future. »

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