France strikes for early retirement

On Jan. 19, 2023, a civil disturbance that was organized by opponents of the pension reform bill broke out in the streets of France. This bill would intentionally increase the retirement age from 62 to 64. April of 2022 President Emanuel Macron of France stated in his campaign that if he became president, he would increase the retirement age.

Macron has thought out the plan to gradually raise the legal age when workers can start collecting a pension by three months every year until they reach 64 by 2030. Now that he is president, he has increased the age without a vote. Due to the population growth being down, people are living longer, medicine is better and benefits cost more. Many democracies have decided to balance their budgets by cutting the benefits mainly in countries with more of a generous plan like France’s, putting administrations at risk.

Some protests over the past two months have drawn over 1 million people to the cause. Garbage has filled the streets of Paris as a result of many sanitary workers walking out to protest the increase in retirement age. For garbage collectors in Paris, the retirement age would increase from 57 to 59; being lower than most jobs because their jobs are physically harder. Many of these protests turned into riots including lighting the trash on fire. The trash strike started on March 6 and ended on March 29 2023, lasting a total of 23 days.

Sanitary workers have gone back to work with a heavy amount of trash to pick up. According to AP News, trash mounds reached up to 10,000 tons along the streets of Paris. Many strikes have taken place on the train railroads, causing trains to be out of service on March 16, 18, 30 and April first.

Due to Macron’s fear of not being able to get enough votes in order to pass the bill, Macron used a special article of the French constitution, allowing the government to force the bill through without a vote. Due to his actions, this diminished his popularity as a leader for the country.