Strikes scheduled against pension reform plans

18 Jan 2023

Strike action is planned throughout France on Thursday against government pension reform plans.

The majority of trains will be cancelled on Thursday, flights will also be impacted, and the subway in Paris will also face heavy disruption.

According to opinion polls, the vast majority of citizens are opposed to the planned reforms, which would see the retirement age rise from 62 to 64, Reuters news agency reports.

Unions have called on workers to stage walkouts on Thursday and take to the streets in protest across the country. However, the government has stated it will stand firm and urged workers not to paralyse France.

During the strike action, only one in three to one in five high-speed TGV lines will be in operation, say reports, and just one in 10 local TER trains. International Eurostar and Thalys lines should be running nearly to normal schedules, whilst the Lyria connection with Switzerland will be disrupted. In addition, other international train connections will be cancelled. Furthermore, one in five flights will be cancelled arriving and departing from Orly airport in Paris. 

In addition, the strike action will affect schools, with seven out of 10 teachers in primary schools across the country set to walk out, according to leading union SNUipp-FSU earlier in the week, whilst other sectors such as banks and refineries are also due to strike.

Under the planned changes, the legal retirement age in France will increase to 64 from the current age of 62. The number of years of contributions required for a full pension will increase faster than planned and, from 2027, will reach 43 years, per the government’s plans, the Reuters report adds.

The pension reforms have not yet been adopted in parliament, and although President Emmanuel Macron doesn’t have an absolute majority, he is hoping to obtain the votes from Les Republicains.