Emmanuel Macron is bracing for round two of a clash with labor unions over his plan to upend France's pension system, in what could become the defining moment of his presidency.
Labor unions will stage a repeat of last week's mass protests Tuesday to load pressure the day before Mr. Macron's government announces the final version of what it says will be a systemic change to the state's pension system. Protests on Dec. 5 brought more than 800,000 people into the streets, the most since Mr. Macron's term began in May 2017.
Transit disruptions are set to continue as the strike enters its sixth day, shutting down the majority of metro lines in Paris and preventing more than two-thirds of trains from running nationwide.
Reforming France's pension system has proven a treacherous task for former French leaders. In 1995, then Prime Minister Alain Juppe abandoned his plans after strikes paralyzed the country for about a month.
Current Prime Minister Edouard Philippe, who worked on Mr. Juppe's failed run for president in 2017, says the government will not budge this time.
"If we do not make a profound, serious, progressive reform today, then someone else will make a truly brutal one tomorrow," Philippe said in an interview with the Journal du Dimanche newspaper Sunday.
But unions are refusing to blink. In the same newspaper, Philippe Martinez said the leftist CGT union he leads will continue striking until the government withdraws the reform.
"In 1995, at the start of the protests, Mr. Juppe said he would never withdraw his plan. Things change fast and there's a lot of anger," Mr. Martinez said.
According to a survey by IFOP Dec. 6, 7, 53% of French people support or have sympathy for the protesters.