On the eighth day of protests, numerous workers in France took to the streets again on Wednesday. According to union information, there were 450,000 demonstrators in Paris, a little more than last Saturday, but significantly fewer than on the largest day of protest to date, just over a week ago. The official numbers are usually much lower.
Numerous flights, trains and light rail vehicles were canceled again. In Paris, the ongoing strike by garbage collectors is now dominating the cityscape. Overflowing garbage cans, bursting plastic garbage bags and sodden cardboard boxes are piling up in numerous places. In total, at least seven tons of uncollected garbage blight the city. Residents and visitors complain about rats and bad smells.
Despite the vote in the Senate and National Assembly, the unions want to extend the garbage collectors' strike at least until Monday. The waste incineration plants in the greater Paris area are also affected by the strike. Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin has asked the city of Paris to oblige garbage workers to work.
Strikes also continue in the energy sector, in refineries and fuel depots. Electricity production was reduced again, but without any impact on consumers. The gas stations are still sufficiently supplied.
The French government wants to raise the retirement age from 62 to 64 by 2030 to prevent a deficit in the pension fund. Previously applicable special pensions are to be canceled for all those who are newly hired. In addition, the minimum pension is to be raised to 1,200 euros for full contribution periods. The recruitment of seniors should also be encouraged.
While the Senate vote is considered a formality, it remains unclear whether enough Republican lawmakers will vote in favor of the reform in the National Assembly. The government could use Article 49.3 of the Constitution to pass the reform without a vote. To do so, however, she would have to put up with a vote of no confidence.
The massive wave of protests that has been going on for weeks is also an expression of general disenchantment with politics and concerns among the population about the increased prices. In previous protest days, more than a million people have taken to the streets.