Paris, protest against pension reform shuts down Louvre, thousands stay outside

Paris, protest against pension reform blocks Louvre, forced to close. Thousands of visitors remain outside.

Protest mounts in Paris against the pension reform sought by President of the Republic Emmanuel Macron: sixty people belonging to the Confédération Générale du Travail (CGT) union, a historic French acronym founded in 1895, following a strike called for today, Friday Jan. 17, they blocked the entrance to the Louvre preventing visitors from entering, so much so that, after several hours of waiting, the management of the museum, the most visited in the world, decided to close its doors for the entire day today. Initially, the Louvre had communicated that, for today, delays would be expected, but since the protest went on to the bitter end, the decision was made to close as protesters physically blocked access to the museum. Thousands of visitors therefore remained outside and voiced their complaints on social media: many, in fact, had booked many months in advance to visit the major exhibition on Leonardo da Vinci, the event of the year, which will go on for a few more weeks.

In a note with the joint signature of the CGT, CGC, FSU and SUD unions, it is stated that “it is from the heart of the Louvre pyramid, where the president of the republic Emmanuel Macron has chosen to consecrate his investiture, that a front of union opposition is rising against him against his disastrous pension guidelines.” The Macron-Delevoye-Pietrazewski reform project is described in the text as “destroyer of lives and futures.” street demonstrations have been going on for days against the reform, which does not include an increase in the retirement age (in France it stops at 62), while it will introduce a system of incentives for those who will stay working longer (5 percent more per year) and deterrents for those who will instead opt for early retirement (5 percent less for every year less worked), as well as a point system that should bring order to the many pension funds by abolishing them (there are more than 40 in France, so much so that a French retiree on average receives 2.5 pensions) in order to allow workers to be able to change jobs without also changing funds. There will then be a minimum pension of 1,000 euros. The system will come into effect in 2025 and will affect in all only those born after 2004; there will be a mixed system for those born between 1975 and 2004, while all those born before 1975 will retire under the old system. The protests center on several points: the fact that the incentive-based system will actually raise the retirement age, the point system deemed unfair by the unions, and the end of the coffers, which will lead to the end of numerous special schemes (many of them highly beneficial to certain categories of workers).

Those in favor of the reform project consider the French pension system to be one of the most generous in Europe and think it is reasonable in view of longer life expectancies and the fact that unions have often passed off privileges as rights, while opponents argue that the reform will lead to a deterioration in pensioners’ living standards.

This is what the protesting Louvre workers write: “Since the conditions of the Louvre Museum workers are getting tougher by the day mainly due to the gaps in staffing, precariousness and the disengagement of the state, it is unthinkable to subscribe to the point-based pension system proposed by the government, which has no other goal than to lower the amount of pensions to everyone. Our mobilization therefore stands alongside all striking workers across the country who are fighting for a dignified life, whether in private-law or public-law facilities. This expression again manifests the great union unity to fight for a very important social stake.”

Pictured are Louvre workers on strike. Ph. Credit Véronique Bontemps

Paris, protest against pension reform shuts down Louvre, thousands stay outside
Paris, protest against pension reform shuts down Louvre, thousands stay outside

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