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Union calls for shut down in France, worst strike in a decade

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Mass strike called by the labour unions over the government’s new pension scheme.

On Thursday, day to day life in France got disrupted by mass strike called by the labor union over the government’s new pension scheme. The nationwide strike which brought life to halt was one of the worst strikes the country faced in a decade. Union gathered to criticize French President Emmanuel Macron, who proposed plan for a universal points-based pension scheme. It enraged the workers from different fields of life as it would force them to retire later or settle for lesser pensions.

The ongoing row with Unions seems to be one of the greatest challenges for Macron to tackle at the home front. Among the demonstrators were school and transport workers, police officers, lawyers, doctors, and hospital and airport staff. Millions participated in the walkout demonstrations forcing the government to make considerable changes in its pension reforms. Unions did not appear to be ready for lesser concessions as they have called for an indefinite strike and hope to keep up the momentum for at least for a week.

French government barricaded the presidential palace and deployed police force of about 6000 personnel to prevent what’s expected to turn into a violent agitation. French Interior Minister Christophe Castaner told reporters that according to authorities on the eve of strike about 250 nation demonstrations would take place, some of which could turn violent.

He said, “We know there will be lots of people in these protests and we know the risks. I have requested that systematically when there is rioting or violence we make arrests immediately.”

Macron tabled the pension reforms, which formed an integral part of his presidential project, to help France’s economy move ahead and compete globally.

Labour laws and social welfare is a sensitive subject among French citizens, which makes it all the more difficult for Macron.

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