| 8 December 2023, Friday |

French PM offers to meet opposition, unions amid pension crisis

Elisabeth Borne, the French prime minister, wants to meet with union leaders and members of the opposition in an effort to put a stop to weeks of demonstrations over a new pension law, her office announced on Sunday.

After the administration pushed through the law this month without a final parliamentary vote, protests against the pension reform, which would raise the retirement age by two years, turned violent.

President Emmanuel Macron has ruled out scrapping or delaying the legislation, tasking his prime minister with finding fresh support in parliament after the government failed to find enough votes for the bill.

Borne will meet with political party leaders and also aims to restart dialogue with unions over labour issues, her office said, without mentioning the pension bill.

The prime minister added in an interview with AFP that the meetings with opposition and union leaders would take place in the week starting April 3.

She also pledged not to use constitutional powers to adopt legislation without a vote again except for on budget bills, AFP said.

It is unclear if the government’s attempt to draw a line under the pension crisis will calm a majority of the public hostile to the reform and demonstrators exasperated by the adoption of the legislation without a final vote.

Unions have scheduled a 10th day of nationwide protests against the pension law on Tuesday, after a previous day of action last Thursday saw the most violent clashes yet with police.

The head of the CFDT union, Laurent Berger, last week proposed that Macron pause the law for six months to seek a possible compromise.

  • Reuters