French workers gear up for 8th round of protests over pension reform plan


Workers and trade unions planned Wednesday a new demonstration over the government’s pension reform plan.

It will be the eighth demonstration against the plan which triggered public outrage when it was announced last year.

Meanwhile, the nation’s representatives continue to discuss the reform plan, according to media reports.

The joint committee, comprising seven senators and seven members of parliament, gathered to discuss the draft bill.

This committee is in charge of finding common ground between parliament and the Senate over the final version of the draft bill.

It should achieve its duty and transfer the draft bill to the Senate, then to parliament for a final vote on Thursday.

National railway company SNCF announced that its traffic would be disrupted on Wednesday, in Paris region in particular, due to its workers’ walkouts, the Le Figaro newspaper said.

Parisian regional transportation company RATP’s traffic is only slightly disrupted, and 20% of the flights at Paris-Orly airport have been canceled as requested by the French Directorate General for Civil Aviation (DGAC).

Some of the strikes, which began last week, were extended to Wednesday, including in oil refineries and garbage collection in Paris.

The Interior Ministry is expecting between 650,000 and 850,000 protesters in nationwide demonstrations, and Paris alone to host up to 80,000 protesters, Le Figaro added.

The garbage piling up in Paris streets is becoming an eyesore – and is not near ending since the collectors extended their strike to March 20.

Government officials criticized Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo for her inaction as more than 6,000 tons of garbage rot on the streets with rats rummaging through the piles of garbage.

Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin ordered the Paris police to ask the municipality to requisition its staff, so that the garbage would be collected, Le Figaro said.

The reform plans include raising the retirement age from 62 to 64 in 2030 and requiring at least 43 years of work to be eligible for full pensions.

The ultimate deadline for the adoption of the reform project is March 26.__The Nation