The French Senate Passes Controversial Retirement Law Despite Popular Protests
A controversial bill that would raise France’s retirement age from 62 to 64 got a push forward with the Senate’s adoption of the measure amid strikes, protests and rubbish piling up by the day.
French Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne tweeted late Saturday after a 195-112 vote that she was looking forward to passing the final bill, hailing “a decisive step towards reform that will secure the future of our pension system.”
But the legislation must now move through a difficult political area with multiple potential outcomes.
He first turns to a panel of seven senators and seven House representatives to find a middle ground between the two houses’ versions of the text on Wednesday — when unions planned an eighth round of nationwide protest rallies.
President Emmanuel Macron himself is not afraid of the garbage piling up in Paris and other cities from the strike of garbage workers opposed to the bill and the decline in services and supplies in other sectors such as transport and energy.
Macron refused a union request to meet with him, which left-wing CGT union leader Felipe Martinez said amounted to “finger-giving”.
The government did not respond to a trade union request for “citizen consultation” about the legislation, which was passed on Saturday after a new day of marches drew far fewer people to the streets than protest marches four days earlier.
Senate President Gerard Larcher expressed pride in the work of his colleagues after their vote – a day before the deadline – saying that the body controlled by the conservative right played its part “with only one aim, whatever our sentiments, and that is the interest of the country and the interest of the French people”.
The unions maintain that the French are voting their opposition to reform in the streets and through strikes, although they are reduced in some sectors.
The government hopes to avoid using a special constitutional power to force the bill through Parliament without a vote. Parliamentary approval will give a great deal of legitimacy to the retirement plan.
But there are multiple scenarios before the reform becomes law, making its trajectory uncertain.
If the mixed committee reaches an agreement on Wednesday, the final vote on the pension reform plan will take place the next day in the Senate and the National Assembly, the House of Representatives.
Without an agreement, the bill is likely to go back to the National Assembly for further discussion and a final vote, and possibly back to the Senate. Borne, the prime minister, expressed optimism that the measure would be “definitively adopted in the coming days”.
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