The French unions do not turn the page on the pension reform and are going to continue with the mobilizations in the streets to demand the withdrawal of the law, despite the fact that it was promulgated two weeks ago. Encouraged by the success of the mobilization on May 1, one of the most massive on this date in France, the union organizations have decided to remain united in this fight against this law that delays the retirement age to 64 years.
They met to decide the strategy to follow from now on: if they maintained a common front, which implies that the opposition to the law continues in the street, or the association was dissolved. The mobilization against this reform, which has accumulated more than three months of protests and 13 demonstrations, has been so successful in part because, for the first time in decades, the unions have been united. That they had chosen to each follow their path would have somehow meant the end of the movement against the reform, which will come into force in September.
The organizations have published a joint communiqué in which they warn that they will continue to put pressure on the streets and have called for a new day of mobilization on June 6. Two days later, a bill to repeal the reform will be voted on in the Assembly.
This proposal has been presented by the independent group Liot, the same one that already presented a motion of censure against the Government a month and a half ago that was only a handful of votes away from prospering and, therefore, from knocking down the reform and the Executive itself.
The unions met yesterday, after the thirteenth day of mobilization against the pension reform, one of the most massive. 2.3 million people attended, according to the CGT union; 782,000, according to Interior. It was the first labor party the unions had attended together since 2009, and demonstrations across France focused on protesting the law.
It was the most tense and violent day so far: according to data from the Ministry of the Interior updated yesterday, there were 540 detainees and 406 police officers and gendarmes injured, one of whom was seriously injured, with facial burns, after the explosion of a molotov cocktail An attempted murder investigation has been opened. There were also 61 injured protesters, including a young man who lost his hand to a grenade and another woman who lost an eye.
The head of the Interior, Gérald Darmanin, recalled that there were more than 2,000 radicals in the demonstrations, who mixed among the demonstrators, and demanded stronger sanctions for "those who attack the forces of order." Interior had deployed 12,000 police officers, 5,000 of them in Paris, and also in some cities drones, authorized by a recently approved law, were used to control flows and movements. According to Darmanin, this system facilitated the work of identifying the radicals.
The Prime Minister, Elisabeth Borne, yesterday criticized the violence that took place in some marches and assured that "a new level of violence has been set in motion" and asked all political leaders to condemn them. Darmanin has criticized the leader of the Unsubdued France, Jean Luc Mélenchon, for complicity for not condemning the acts against the policemen. Yes, it did, for example, the far-right Marine Le Pen.
Today the Constitutional Council (like the Spanish Constitutional Court) will decide whether to accept a proposal from the left to organize a referendum to annul the law and leave the retirement age at 62 years. This wise council already rejected a similar proposal on April 14, the same day it approved the reform. This was promulgated hours later.
For the unions and opponents of the reform (almost the entire parliamentary arch and 70% French), this is the only trick to overthrow the law. If it is accepted, it would begin a cumbersome process that can last more than a year and that involves gathering almost five million signatures and for which there is no precedent. Those that have been presented previously have not come to fruition. Even if it is accepted, the law will start to be applied equally in September.
Borne wanted to summon the unions these days to speak, although the organizations have set conditions for dialogue. In the joint statement, they have shown their intention to remain united, but they have warned the Government that they will remember their rejection of the reform, and the request that it withdraw.
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