What is next for strikes and protests against pension reform in France?

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What is next for strikes and protests against pension reform in France?
Demonstrators protest by banging pots and pans in Paris during French President Emmanuel Macrons address to the nation, after signing pension reform into law (Photo by Geoffroy Van der Hasselt / AFP)

After French President Emmanuel Macron addressed the nation on Monday night, more protests hit France as people continued to push back against the pension reform - from demos and deadlines to more strikes, here is what to expect in the weeks and days ahead.


French President Emmanuel Macron addressed the nation on Monday night, shortly after his divisive pension reforms were signed into law over the weekend.

READ MORE: Macron lays out 'three pathways' to reuniting France after pension reform protests

During the speech, many protested by banging pots and pans, seeking to drown out the president in what the French press has called a concert de casseroles.


About 24,000 people took to the streets across France, according to estimates by France's ministry of interior, with clashes in Paris, Lyon, Rennes and Nantes.

The reform might now have been signed into law, but leftist political parties and unions have vowed not to give in and keep up the protests

Here is what to expect in the weeks ahead;

Thursday, April 20th - There will be a series of protests and mobilisations on Thursday. The new head of the hardline CGT union, Sophie Binet, asked Paris garbage collectors to resume their strike, and unions representing rail workers have called for walkouts on Thursday in a ‘day of anger’ over pension reform. It remains unclear exactly how much disruption this will cause, but this will take place the day before students and families in Zone C (which includes the Paris region) head off for the Spring holidays. You can find the latest strike announcements HERE. 


Monday, April 24th - the detailed "government roadmap". French Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne will provide detailed information about President Macron's 'three priority projects' on Monday night, giving a 'roadmap' for the next 100 days, ahead of France's national day on July 14th. This is unlikely to focus on pension reform, but instead will focus on the topics of work, justice and rule of law and social progress.

Friday, April 28th -  The CGT union has also called for other actions on Friday, April 28th. However, the specifics have not yet been announced, and other unions, such as the CFDT, have declined to take part. On this day, French hospital interns (stagiaires in French) will also strike, but this will be unrelated to pension reform. Instead, they are demanding an increased salary of about 300 per month. Typically, when healthcare workers strike, they do not walk out, but instead wear attire showing they are striking and engage in protest actions around the hospital.

Monday, May 1st - On France's Labour Day, May 1st, unions have called for widespread protests. This is a public holiday, so many offices will already be closed, but disruption to regular services is to be expected. Labour Day is normally an important day annually for union mobilisation in France, so it is likely protests will be well-attended. Left-wing leader of the La France Insoumise party, Jean-Luc Mélenchon has said that the day will be "decisive". The more moderate CFDT union has said that it will focus its efforts on "a big day of mobilisation on May 1st" instead of joining in on previous actions.

Wednesday, May 3rd - On May 3rd, France's Constitutional Council will deliver their decision on the second request for a referendum (RIP) on pension reform. The Council rejected the first request on April 14th. However, for opposition parties, this date will be crucial in determining the future of the battle against pension reform.

READ MORE: EXPLAINED: What is France's Constitutional Council and how does it work?

Early May (no precise date) - President Macron said during his speech that he hopes "to solicit all forces of action and goodwill", namely "those of elected officials, political forces, trade unions, of all components of the nation" in early May. The president also plans to announce new measures to combat crime, and prior to the start of the summer, a new 'ecological' plan.

Friday, July 14th - The date for an initial assessment of Macron's "three priority projects" and France's national day, otherwise known as Bastille Day.


Friday, September 1st - According to President Macron, pension reform will begin to apply starting on September 1st, which was confirmed again by government spokesperson, Olivier Véran, on Saturday.


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