President Emmanuel Macron's pledge to give up presidential privileges and follow the same pension rule he's proposing for all French isn't doing much to appease striking workers.
In response to a question about his own pension rights from French daily Le Parisien, Mr. Macron said late Saturday he too would respect the same rules he was seeking to introduce for workers in France. The newspaper reported that he would give up his right to a pension for life that French presidents enjoy under a 1955 law, and instead switch to a points-based calculation.
Labor unions, which have led opposition to Mr. Macron's plans, have vowed to continue striking and marching during Christmas and into January. The CGT labor confederation Monday said it was planning actions every day during the holiday season and stuck to its demands that the government must withdraw its planned reform. The union's railroad branch earlier had told AFP they would hold a concert at the Austerlitz train station in central Paris on Christmas Eve, as well as dinners in other stations.
Some workers in fuel depots have started blocking facilities in Lavera in Southern France, and others threaten to follow. Energy grid workers at EDF resorted to localized "sabotage" actions, temporarily cutting power to households or stadiums. Paris Metro is still severely disrupted, and less then half of the trains are planned to run Tuesday across France.
A year after facing the violent Yellow Vests protests that he had to placate with €17 billion in public spending, Mr. Macron's credibility is at stake in the latest standoff. The 42-year-old investment banker-turned-politician rose to power on a promise to modernize the French state and made the plan a cornerstone of his presidential platform.
But opposition to Mr. Macron's reform has gripped the country since Dec. 5 with disruptions for commuters and travelers causing havoc particularly in and around Paris. Most labor unions have refused a truce during the festivities, as asked for by the more moderate CFDT union and the government.