Macron pension reform protesters smash office windows of opposition

People close to Macron told AFP that the president was “of course following developments” on the ground.

Alongside raising the headline retirement age, Macron’s reform also increases the number of years people must pay into the system to receive a full pension.

The government says its changes are needed to avoid crippling deficits in the coming decades linked to France’s aging population.

But opponents say the law places an unfair burden on low earners, women and people doing physically wearing jobs, and polls have consistently showed majorities opposed to the changes.

A survey of 2,000 people published in the Journal du Dimanche weekly on Sunday gave Macron an approval rating of 28 percent, its lowest since 2019’s mass “yellow vests” demonstrations against a new fuel tax.

After Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne used Article 49.3 of the constitution to pass the law without a vote in the lower house National Assembly, opponents’ last hope to block the reform is to topple the government in one of Monday’s no-confidence votes.

Labour Minister Olivier Dussopt told the JDD that “it’s not an admission of failure, but it’s heart-breaking” to have used the nuclear option to pass the reform.

The pensions changes were “too important to take the risk of playing Russian roulette,” he added, after weeks of concessions to the Republicans – long in favour of raising the retirement age – failed to bring enough conservative MPs on board to secure a majority.

Few lawmakers in the fractious Republicans group are expected to vote against the government in Monday’s no-confidence motions, brought by a small group of centrist MPs and the far-right National Rally.

Ciotti said he didn’t want to “add chaos to chaos”.