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Following on the heels of a huge mobilization on January 19, an estimated 2.8 million French workers took to the streets again on January 31 to oppose President Emmanuel Macron’s reactionary pension “reforms”. Macron’s push to raise the retirement age from 62 to 64 while also raising the number of years of work it takes to qualify for a pension has galvanized French workers into mass action that has the government on the defensive.
According to the Confédération Générale du Travail (CGT), France saw more than 250 demonstrations from the largest cities to the smallest, “from Paris to Marseille, from Albert in the Somme to Biars in the Lot”.
In its statement the CGT noted of the attack on pensions that:
Questions of social justice and recognition of work are at the heart of the struggle: “The public response to the coronavirus crisis has caused the largest increase ever recorded in the fortunes of billionaires. In France billionaires earned nearly 220 billion euros between March 2020 and March 2021” (Oxfam report) and a new record dividend distribution from CAC 40 [the French stock market index] companies to their shareholders was released.
This is unbearable for millions of citizens, the distribution of the wealth produced is so unfair and unequal that we will not allow such an unjust, brutal and anti-social reform to be imposed!
In a solidarity statement the All-Workers Militant Front of Greece who had a contingent participating in France wrote:
Once again the enormous power of the working class, the class that produces wealth and without which nothing moves, was demonstrated. The working class of France has responded to the attack of the employers and the Macron government and is escalating its struggle.