French pensioners kick off Macron reform protests

Thousands of retirees had already taken to the streets in January against higher taxes on their pensions, imposed to help offset lower social security charges for private-sector employees.

French pensioners kick off Macron reform protests

World Bulletin / News Desk

Pensioners and retirement home workers staged protests across France on Thursday, kicking off a series of strikes against President Emmanuel Macron's reforms.

"We're not the gilded generation," said Michel Salingue of the FGR-FP union, adding that the average monthly French pension stood at 1,300 euros ($1,600).

"We've contributed more than our share already," he said.

But Macron, who has already overcome opposition to an overhaul of France's rigid labour laws and sharp cuts on wealth and capital gains taxes, shows no sign of backing down.

Speaking in Tours in central France on Wednesday, Macron said he "took responsibility" for the reforms while reiterating his call for "an effort to help young workers".

"Some people will complain and don't want to understand, but that's France," he said.

Staff from hundreds of state-run retirement homes across France also protested Thursday against low pay, a severe shortfall in staffing levels and unsanitary conditions in many establishments.

The government is pursuing a financing reform that would cut funding for the retirement homes by up to 25 percent, even as unions want the state to commit 7-10 billion euros ($8.6-12.3 billion) for hiring an additional 200,000 people.

"We can no longer accept that senior citizens are not getting showers regularly," said Mireille Stivala of the CGT, one of France's largest unions.

Last Mod: 15 Mart 2018, 18:13
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