Infotech Mobilization against the pension reform: an anti-Macron referendum?

Mobilization against the pension reform: an anti-Macron referendum?

We will not be surprised: the strong mobilization of employees hostile to the pension reform project marks a victory for the unions, united for the first time in a long time. The success of this day of January 19, both by its magnitude and by its calm, without excessive excesses, is indisputable judging not only by the number of demonstrators but also by their geographical distribution. Apart from the Parisian procession, there were thousands in Pau, Calais, Angoulême, and even Châteauroux, Auch, Chartres or Agen. Even more impressive, the participation of private sector employees: “Employees that we were not used to seeing in the demonstrations”underlined the secretary general of the CFDT Laurent Berger the same evening on LCI.

Everything contributed to the success of this day of protest: the feeling, majority among the French according to the polls, that this reform is unfair; that it penalizes more modest employees, long careers – those who started working at 20 – and seniors, often pushed out and towards Pôle Emploi after 55 years; that it is based on the effort of employees alone, with no contribution from companies.

The sequel after the ad

But not only. By constantly scrambling its messages, the executive has cast doubt on the real objective of this reform. Save the pay-as-you-go system? Or finance the energy transition, dependency or the education system as Emmanuel Macron suggested in the fall? Added to a battle of experts around projections on the balance of the system by 2030, this doubt has turned into slow-distilled poison. And ended up convincing a majority of citizens that the power had found there a way among others to reimburse the “whatever the cost” and to send a signal of rigor to Brussels. In short, that it was first a reform of public finances.

Pension reform: how far will the showdown go?

Emmanuel Macron is right to recall that he had not cheated during his presidential campaign and that he had warned that it would be necessary to work longer. But he seems to have forgotten what he had publicly analyzed himself: some French people voted more against Marine Le Pen than for him and his program. Forgot again that his remarks of 2019 – “When you are poorly qualified and have a fractured career, good luck reaching 62! – had struck the spirits and have been widely rebroadcast lately. Similarly, he seems to have underestimated that the social context (inflation, decline in purchasing power, rising energy prices, pessimism, feeling downgraded) could transform opposition to a reform into an anti-reform referendum. Macron. From this point of view, the Head of State would have been well advised to refrain from adding fuel to the fire by affirming this week, behind closed doors of the Council of Ministers, that he did not believe in “a victory of irresponsibility”. Except that, among the demonstrators, there were not only supporters of a return to retirement at 60… More than a million employees, not all irresponsible, were in the street on Thursday.

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