The social fire in France seems to have no end and could definitively mark Macron’s second five-year period. Even with the echoes the mobilization last Tuesday in the streetswhich gained mass again on the sixth day of strikes against the pension reform, this Wednesday the effects continued in two strategic sectors for the country’s economy, energy and transport.
The CGT union announced on Tuesday that there were strikes in all refineries in the country and that the situation would expand over time as a measure of pressure against the Executive of Elisabeth Borne. Some of these strikes have already started even before the day of the strike. Although the Government has ruled out short-term shortage problems, the truth is that 6% of the country’s filling stations were already experiencing difficulties this Wednesday and if the movement persists, the situation of last October could be repeated within a few days.
The image of gas stations without fuel and vehicles that stand in line for hours to be able to fill up at the few that have supplies. At the time, the situation is not so critical but the protest calendar will continue throughout March in parallel with the parliamentary process of Macron’s controversial reform.
Tuesday confirmed that The unions’ pulse to the French president has become his biggest internal challenge for many reasons. The first is that the numbers show that the protest movement against his stellar makeover is not abating. They were massive again and almost without erosion. France was not completely paralyzed, but strategic sectors for its economy suffered major disturbances that will continue. Also in Transport.
The Paris metro and commuter train also experienced disturbances.s of this Wednesday, a little below those of the previous day. In short, a pulse that has passed into the so-called “phase 2” with hardening of positions.
The interunion has already announced the next two days of mobilization for the 11th and 15th of this month and summoned Macron to receive his representatives at the Élysée Oda about the situation. This Wednesday morning, the government spokesman, Olivier Veran, responded to this request by stating that “the doors of the Government are open”. at the moment when the Eliseu refuses to receive this union representation.
Currently, the Executive’s strategy is to shorten the parliamentary process, try to quickly agree with the moderate right in the last fringes and leave the sentenced text to turn the page as soon as possible. But few in France now believe that a social fire of this magnitude can be put out so easily.
The deadline for adopting the law is the end of March. At first, the macronist hypercenter wants to rely on Los Republicanos to advance the text but otherwise, the Government has the faculty to impose it through article 49.3 of the Constitution, which allows to close the debates. But then it runs the risk of igniting even more tempers in the unions, in the opposition and in the streets.
This is a parliamentary process that is not proving to be easy. On February 18, the deadline for debates in the National Assembly expired, with no time left for a vote and with accusations aimed especially at the left-wing coalition. Now the law has gone to the Senate and, if approved there, it should reach a joint text with the National Assembly. Oppositions of different political hues try to position themselves against the reform to capitalize on its rejection, although using different strategies both in the chamber and on the streets.
Government ministers continue to insistently defend their arguments in the media. The Executive supports postponing the retirement age from 62 to 64 as a “necessary” measure to guarantee the viability of the pension system, which in the coming decades will face the great challenge of an aging population in France and the question of whether future generations will be able to sustain so many pensions.
The unions, in turn, have as a reference what happened in in 1995, during the government of the conservative Jacques Chirac, when several days of massive strikes paralyzed attempts to reform pensions, even when Republicans had an absolute majority in Parliament. Emulating this precedent has become a current objective for this renewed union against Macron, which will experience its seventh day of mobilization next Saturday.