The Senate progressed laboriously on Thursday in the examination of the pension reform, after the adoption the day before of the postponement to 64 years of the retirement age, against a backdrop of persistent strikes, scattered blockages and growing questions about the existence of a majority in the National Assembly.
Suspensions of the session, multiplication of points of order, cross accusations of "insincerity" and "obstruction": the debates got bogged down when the senators were to address the examination of article 9 devoted to hardship.
At the origin of this stagnation which lasted for nearly three hours, a request from the President of the Social Affairs Commission, LR Catherine Deroche, to give priority to one of her amendments, a measure which automatically knocked out about sixty others from the left.
Accusing the right of wanting to accelerate at the expense of the democratic debate, the left chained the points of order, deploring that it could not speak on this "major article" of the reform, in the eyes of the communist Pierre Laurent.
"You haven't won a single minute with this case," quipped PS Jérôme Durain. "It's the sprinkler watered," added his colleague Patrick Kanner.
Denouncing a "manifest desire to obstruct", the Minister of Labor Olivier Dussopt used article 44.2 of the Constitution to remove the myriad of sub-amendments tabled immediately by the left.
"Obstruction is the disease of parliamentarianism", lamented the boss of senators LR Bruno Retailleau, in response to the communist Eliane Assassi who had seen in the use of 44.2 "a sign of political weakness and feverishness" of the right and the government.
With still more than 1,000 amendments to consider, the upper house will have to work hard to be able to vote for the reform by Sunday at midnight.
On LCI, Mr. Retailleau also recognized that he "was not able" to say whether the Senate could go to the end of the text.
Previously, senators adopted the extension of the long career system to those who started working between 20 and 21 years old, for an early departure at 63 years old.
They also voted for a proposal from the right and the centrists establishing a pension surcharge of up to 5% for women choosing to leave at the legal retirement age, but having accumulated the required annuities from a year before.
On the other hand, a long-awaited amendment by Mr. Retailleau has been postponed, to the chagrin of the left.
It was that the gradual extinction of special pension plans, voted in article 2, applies to employees already in office, without retaining the "grandfather clause".
But more than 200 subamendments had been tabled at the last minute by the Communists, and discussing them would have taken up much of the day.
At the end of the joint joint committee (CMP) scheduled for Wednesday, Elisabeth Borne is counting on a vote of the Republicans in the Assembly to approve the reform without having to use 49.3 (adoption of a text without a vote). But the evocation of this hypothesis was becoming more and more insistent on Thursday.
"I think that, in the National Assembly, there is no majority to vote for this pension reform", estimated Thursday morning the boss of the National Rally group, Marine Le Pen, for whom 49.3 "would be a demonstration of weakness".
"It can set fire to the powder", for his part judged Philippe Martinez, the general secretary of the CGT.
He castigated the "indifference" and the "contempt" of power, Emmanuel Macron having opposed an end of inadmissibility to the inter-union which had asked Tuesday to be received "urgently" at the Élysée.
The eight main unions and five youth organizations sent this request in writing to the Head of State, judging in passing that the silence of the executive in the face of the social movement posed a "serious democratic problem".
The inter-union called for two new days of mobilization: the first on Saturday, the following Wednesday, March 15, day of the joint joint committee.
Strikes continued for a third day on Thursday in transport, refineries and energy, where the supply of gas to the network is significantly slowed due to blockages.
About a third of the TGVs were circulating in France, as on Wednesday. In Ile-de-France, rail traffic remained very disrupted, with 80% fewer trains than usual on the RER D and line R of the Transilien, in particular. Traffic should remain very disrupted on Friday and this weekend.
In the sky, after several days of disruption, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGAC) has again asked airlines to give up 20% of their flights scheduled for the weekend at several major airports, including Orly.
In Seine-Saint-Denis, CGT electricians and gas workers claimed to have cut power to the Stade de France and the Olympic village site. But there was no power cut at the Stade de France, assured Enedis.
In Paris, several hundred young people demonstrated Thursday afternoon at the call of high school and student organizations. Demonstrations also took place, notably in Rouen and Toulouse.
03/10/2023 00:52:23 - Paris (AFP) - © 2023 AFP