Pensions: Edouard Philippe wants to “Resume Dialogue” with the Social Partners

General News
Demonstration against the pensions reform, December 12, 2019 in Marseille

The Prime Minister Edouard Philippe has pledged to call the social partners, Thursday 12th December 2019, after his announcements and before a new national mobilisation on Tuesday.

Edouard Philippe heard Laurent Berger: the day after the presentation of the pension reform project which angered the boss of the CFDT, the Prime Minister said he wanted to “quickly resume dialogue” with the social partners  Thursday 12th December 2019. 

Edouard Philippe undertook to call the social partners on Thursday afternoon to “see with them how to quickly resume dialogue” on the pension reform. “I noted this morning the request of some social partners and in particular Laurent Berger that a meeting be organized in Matignon. I said yesterday (Wednesday, editor’s note): my door is open and my hand is stretched out, ”he insisted on Twitter.


End of special schemes, “age of balance” at 64, entry into the points system from the generation born in 1975… Edouard Philippe had detailed the content of the future “universal retirement system” on points on Wednesday, ensuring that “Everyone would be a winner”.

Demonstration in Saint-Herblay, near Nantes, on December 12, 2019
Demonstration in Saint-Herblay, near Nantes, on December 12, 2019. (© AFP / Sebastien SALOM-GOMIS)

Demonstrations this Thursday, national mobilization Tuesday

Laurent Berger, favourable to a universal points system but firmly opposed to an extension of the contribution period via an “equilibrium age”, immediately denounced the crossing of a “red line” and asked the government to come back to this point.



The CFDT, the first union, had in the wake called to take to the streets, as the CFTC and Unsa, during the next major mobilization on December 17th at the initiative of the CGT, FO, FSU, Solidaires and four youth organizations.

On Thursday morning, the government and the majority multiplied the calls of the foot so that the CFDT agrees to resume trading. “I am ready to discuss, obviously we are going to discuss,” replied Laurent Berger, pleading for “finding the path of dialogue”. But, he warned, “wanting to be constructive doesn’t mean letting yourself be walked on”.

The government has “made a proposal and now there is a consultation that must be done,” said Emmanuel Macron, interviewed by the press before the start of a European summit in Brussels.

Police unions withdraw from the movement

The first breach in the dispute, the police unions called to suspend their protest movement, hailing “advances” for the maintenance of their derogatory regime.

The mobilization against the pension reform entered Thursday in its second week and several tens of thousands of people demonstrated everywhere in France. In Marseille, where the teachers were numerous, a sign displayed a photo of Master Yoda, the old sage of Star Wars, with the slogan: “teach until 900 years you can”.

Several thousand people (3,700 according to the police prefecture) also demonstrated in peace in Paris, in the light of the pink smoke from railway workers.

The demonstrators were in particular 4800 in Limoges according to the unions, 1200 according to the police, and occupied the A20 motorway at the end of their demonstration. They were between 3000 and 9000 in Lyon according to sources, between 2000 and 6000 in Bordeaux, between 2700 and 7000 in Rouen… In Brest, in the pouring rain, the demonstrators chanted: “the weather is rotten, the retirement in points too! “.

“Today is a demonstration to show that we are still there and that we will not allow the government to continue the social disruption but the next big mobilization is Tuesday,” warned Montpellier Raoul, 37 years old, a teacher in high school.

Demonstration in Paris, December 12, 2019 against the pension reform.
Demonstration in Paris, December 12, 2019 against the pension reform. (© AFP / DOMINIQUE FAGET)

“It has to stop quickly”

In public transport, traffic remained very disrupted and few changes were expected on Friday, within particular a TGV and a Transilien on 4, and 8 metro lines closed in Paris. A peak over 550km of traffic jams was exceeded around 6:00 p.m. in the Paris region, according to the Sytadin website.

There will be “no truce for Christmas unless the government returns to reason” by withdrawing his project, warned the general secretary of the CGT-Cheminots, Laurent Brun, at the head of the dispute.

“Announcing that the trains will not run for Christmas, I think it is quite irresponsible”, reacted on RTL the Minister of Transport, Élisabeth Borne, judging that “it is not what we can learn from trade unionists who say they defend public service ”.

With, on the user side, an increasingly palpable exasperation: “I get up at 4.30 am, I come home at 9 pm. Every morning, I am stressed, irritated by the world that grows in the RER, all day long I am up for my work, and in the evening, I am tired ”, says Fernando Duarte, specialized worker met at the Gare du Nord in Paris.

“It has to stop quickly, it’s really hard ”.

Blocked ports

On Wednesday, Edouard Philippe affirmed that “the law will provide a golden rule so that the value of the point acquired cannot fall”, in response to one of the main concerns expressed by opponents of the pension reform.

For the Prime Minister, “the guarantees are given” justify the strike, “which penalizes millions of French people, ends”.

Discontent remains wide. The Bar Council will vote on actions on Friday, and the main police unions are threatening to “toughen” their mobilization. FSU teachers called for a renewal.

The industrial and port area of ​​Le Havre was blocked on Thursday, as were the entrances to the Grand Maritime Port of Marseille, by demonstrators mobilized at the call of the CGT. Dockers also organized blockades at the port of La Rochelle or Rouen.

Power outages have affected several cities. Declines in production were organized in the nuclear sector and shutdowns of hydroelectric and thermal power plants, according to the CGT Energy. EDF management reported 11% of strikers at the end of the day, against 26.9% on 10. Sabotage on technical installations not claimed, also temporarily deprived electricity of around 11,600 homes in Foix, according to the prefecture.

The bill must be submitted to the Council of Ministers on 22 January and discussed in Parliament at the end of February.

The French continue to support the strike movement, according to a Harris Interactive poll for RTL, 59% support it and 33% oppose it.

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