On the Picket Line

Workers in France strike over attempt to raise retirement age

By Nat London
February 6, 2023

PARIS — Striking workers led over a million people at some 220 demonstrations across the country Jan. 19 to protest President Emmanuel Macron’s attempt to raise the retirement age. Protests were accompanied by strikes of gas, electrical and rail workers, other public transportation workers and teachers.

“Most of us never go out on strike but we are today,” Frederic Duten told the Militant at the demonstration here. Duten is a shop steward for the CGT union at a company that is part of the Airbus aeronautic construction group. Unions at Airbus in Toulouse reserved 42 buses to go to the action.

Workers are protesting a government plan to raise the retirement age from 62 to 64 years of age. This is the eighth similar plan since a previous government attack was defeated by striking rail workers in 1995. Another “reform” was withdrawn following strikes and demonstrations in 2019 and 2020.

Within hours of the demonstrations, eight union confederations met and called a second day of action for Jan. 31.