France looks to 1995 as it braces for pension reform strikes and protests

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Juppe, hoping to balance the country's books ahead of the switch to the euro, announced a raft of social security reforms, including the harmonization of France's varied pensions system and the end of the so-called "special regimes" enjoyed by public sector workers.After two million people took to the streets and nearly three weeks of near total paralysis, the pension reform was dropped — and Juppe saved his premiership. But not for long. Two years later right of center politicians lost the legislative power they would spend years fighting to regain. Reform has not been attempted since. Until now.President Emmanuel Macron has announced reforms that would put an end to the 42 retirement schemes currently in place in France. The idea is that the schemes, which include special provisions for certain professions, like rail workers and train drivers who benefit from early retirement, would be unified into a single points-based system that would give all workers the same rights. French President Emmanuel Macron during the NATO summit in the United Kingdom.But many fear that under Macron's new universal retirement system, they will have to work longer for less, even though the official retirement age in France is 62 — one of the lowest among the 36 countries belonging to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). It's been described as the reforming President's toughest challenge, with tomorrow his greatest test yet: Ambulance drivers, teachers, police unions, postal workers, hospital workers are expected to join the strike. And for the first time, yellow vests will be joining the unions in their protests.In Paris alone, 300 of the capital's 652 primary schools will be closed because of the strike action.Six thousand police officers will be deployed in Paris for rallies across the city, with protests on the Champs Elysees, Matignon and police stations forbidden. And beyond the chaos feared along the protests route, the disruption is likely to be felt far beyond with 90% of trains and 20% of domestic flights canceled on Thursday, 11 out of 16 Paris metro lines will be completely closed, and the Eurostar expects only half of its trains tRead More – Source

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