President Emmanuel Macron’s unpopular pension reform plan is one step closer to becoming a reality after the French Senate on Saturday adopted the bill.
The upper house of the French Parliament voted 195 for and 112 votes against the text in the wake of a seventh day of nationwide demonstrations against the plan on 10th March.
The law, which aims to raise the retirement age by two years to 64, will now be reviewed by a joint committee of lower and upper house lawmakers on Wednesday.
“An important step was taken this evening with a broad vote on the pension reform text in the Senate,” French Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne said after the vote, adding that she believed the government had a parliamentary majority to get the reforms passed into law.
If the committee agrees on a text, a final vote in both chambers could take place as soon as Thursday, but the outcome of that still seems uncertain in the lower chamber – the National Assembly – where Macron’s party needs allies’ votes for a majority.
If the government fears it won’t have enough votes in the lower house, it could deploy a rarely used and highly controversial tool, known as the 49:3 procedure, to push legislation through without a vote.
Unions call for strikes to continue
Between the rolling strikes of certain sectors, including train services, and the unions’ call for mobilization on Wednesday 15th March, further disruptions are to be expected this week.
For the eighth time since the start of the social movement, the unions are calling on French people to take to the streets on Wednesday, the day that the joint committee will review the text.
Disruptions are expected particularly in the transport, education and energy sectors.
Photo source: Union Locale CGT Cannes