“Raise our wages, not misery”: demonstrators pounded the pavement Thursday, at the call of the CGT, FSU and Solidaires unions and youth organizations, to demand wage increases and give a warning shot on pensions , when the executive clarifies its method for reform.
At least 200 rallies were planned all over France for this first day of interprofessional mobilization since the start of the school year, according to Céline Verzeletti, confederal secretary of the CGT.
In Paris, the procession was to leave at 2:00 p.m. from Place Denfert-Rochereau, heading for Place de la Bastille. A police source expected between 3,000 and 6,000 people in the capital. They were, in comparison, 3,200 on March 17 and 8,800 on January 27, according to the Ministry of the Interior.
In the morning, several thousand people (4,300 according to the police) demonstrated in Marseilles, briefly in the presence of the leader of rebellious France, Jean-Luc Mélenchon.
Many dockers from the port of Marseille were present in the parade where a banner proclaimed “no to 49-3” for pension reform.
In Nantes, there were around 4,500 demonstrators, according to the CGT and 3,200, according to the police, with many professions represented: caregivers, teachers, railway workers… On the head banner, we could read: “Raise our wages, not misery”while some protesters chanted “Precariousness is not a job, let’s not waste our lives earning it”.
In Besançon, 770 people demonstrated in the rain, according to the organizers and the police. Among them, Justine, a 42-year-old social worker earning less than 1,400 euros net per month, denounced the fact that her profession was excluded from the “Ségur de la santé” measures, with a sign on her back: “Ségur to be forgotten, precariousness is not a job”.
The secretary general of the second French union, the CGT, Philippe Martinez had said Tuesday to expect a mobilization “significantly higher than those of January and March”noting that there was “strike calls in many professions”.
The Ministry of National Education reported at midday a participation rate of 11.01% among teachers. The Snes-FSU teacher union claimed on its side “30% strikers” in colleges and high schools.
On the transport side, three out of four unions, including the CFDT-Cheminots, have called for a strike at the SNCF. The CGT railwaymen claimed “1 out of 3 railway workers on strike”.
Disruptions were reported on certain TGV Inoui, Intercités, Ouigo, TER, and Transilien lines in Ile-de-France.
On the RATP side, where only the CGT called for a strike, traffic was disrupted on the RER B or buses.
The initial watchword calling for a rise in remuneration in the face of unprecedented inflation (+5.9% in August), was added to the issue of pensions.
Union “unity” on pensions
Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne announced to AFP on Thursday that the government would open a new round of consultations with a view to adopting a bill “before winter”allowing entry into force in the summer of 2023 of a reform providing for the “gradual postponement of the starting age by four months per year, culminating in 65 years in 2031”.
While Thursday’s mobilization day is held without the CFDT or FO, the leader of the CGT has no doubt that all the unions will come together to fight the pension reform project, as they succeeded in doing on the unemployment insurance.
“All unions in France are against working until 64 or 65”repeated Thursday Mr. Martinez on France 2. As for participating in the consultations planned by the executive as of next week, “if it is to tell us that we are discussing the extension of the retirement age, we will not go long”at-il having you.
All the national trade union organizations (CFDT, CGT, FO, CFTC, CFE-CGC, FSU, Solidaires and Unsa) are to meet at Unsa headquarters on October 3. “There could be a demonstration announcement” at the end of this meeting, according to Ms. Verzeletti.
The left-wing parties plan for their part to organize on October 16 a “great march against high cost of living and climate inaction”without the support, a time envisaged, of the CGT.