The measure is a sensitive matter that has been burning the streets of the country for three decades.
The pension reform is a sensitive issue that has been burning the streets in France for 30 years, where protests against the current initiative could intensify after the government’s decision to adopt it without the vote of Parliament.
Macron seeks to raise the retirement age from 62 to 64, far from the 60 established in the early 1980s by Socialist President François Mitterrand and which became a symbol of social progress.
In recent decades, attempts to modify the pension system — as life expectancy increases — have clashed with the unions.
Below are the main reforms and mobilizations from 1993 to the present.
In 1993, the center-right government of Prime Minister Edouard Balladur increased from 37.5 to 40 years the number of years of work required to obtain a full pension in the private sector.
His government also modifies the method of calculating pensions, basing them on the 25 best paid years of the worker, instead of 10 as before.
French Prime Minister Edouard Balladur (left), in a picture from 1995.
The plan, which sidesteps the sensitive issue of public sector pensions, elicits little resistance.
In November 1995, France was paralyzed by the attempts of the center-right prime minister Alain Juppé to impose a 40-year requirement on the public sector for contributions from the private sector.
The unions call a general strike that paralyzes the train and metro services for three weeks. Public opinion massively joins the strikers and forces the government to back down.
Former Prime Minister Alain Juppé. Photo: Reuters
Eight years later, more than a million people take to the streets as center-right Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin reveals his plans for civil servants to work 40 years for a full pension and all progressively to 42 years of contributions. .
President Jacques Chirac (left) with Prime Minister Jean_Pierre Raffarin, in 2005. Photo: AP
Raffarin refuses to budge, and after weeks of demonstrations and strikes, Parliament passes the bill.
Conservative President Nicolas Sarkozy also confronts the unions when he comes to power, promising to eliminate the most advantageous pension plans that some public workers benefited from.
The drivers go on strike, but finally agree to work the same number of years as the others after obtaining a series of concessions on the calculation of pensions.
Three years later, Sarkozy faces far greater opposition when he proposes to raise the legal retirement age from 60 to 62.
Strikes and protests blockade oil refineries, but resistance disappeared when Parliament passed the law.
The government of Socialist President François Hollande is gradually increasing the number of years of contributions needed to obtain a full pension, defending eventual deficits in the pension fund.
Former socialist president François Hollande. Photo: Bloomberg
The necessary contribution would thus reach 43 years in 2035, by virtue of the approved reform. Macron now seeks to accelerate it and reach that level in 2027.
Macron’s first attempt to fulfill his election promise to overhaul the pension system triggers the longest strike in the history of the SNCF railway company.
The centrist president proposes unifying the dozens of special pension systems into a single regime and delaying the retirement age of most people to 64 years.
The centrist president proposes to unify the dozens of special pension systems in a single regime. Photo: EFE
The covid-19 pandemic forces him to keep the reform in a drawer.
A new Macron project to delay the retirement age to 64 years has caused a series of calls for strikes since January 19 by a unitary union front.
On March 7, the largest mobilization against a social reform since 1995 takes place with 1.28 million demonstrators, according to the authorities, and 3.5 million, according to the CGT union.
After the approval of the Senate and the fear of not having a majority in the National Assembly, the president decides to adopt the reform without the vote of the deputies, by virtue of article 49.3 of the Constitution.
The deputies present several motions of censure against the government, which if approved would also overthrow the law.