- Title: Who blinks first? French PM meets with unions over pension reform
- Date: 18th December 2019
- Summary: PARIS, FRANCE (DECEMBER 18, 2019) (REUTERS) FRENCH FLAG LEFT-WING CGT UNION LEADER PHILIPPE MARTINEZ ARRIVING AND ENTERING MATIGNON
- Embargoed: 1st January 2020 15:34
- Keywords: CGT Edouard Philippe France Philippe Martinez pension reform strike unions
- Location: PARIS, FRANCE
- City: PARIS, FRANCE
- Country: France
- Topics: Lawmaking,Government/Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA002BAI7RD3
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe sat across the table with union leaders on Wednesday (December 18) to try resolve a general strike that has dragged to a fourteenth day and has heavily disrupted public transport across France.
Leader of leftist union UNSA, Laurent Escure, said they rejected the 'pivot age' measure, in which a worker would qualify for full pension at 64 years old, and would receive less benefits if he retires earlier.
Secretary of state Laurent Pietraszewski, recently appointed to oversee the pension reforms after the resignation of Jean-Paul Delevoye, joined the meetings.
The hard-left CGT union maintained its opposition to a universal points system proposed by the government, to replace about 40 special regimes, and called for it to be withdrawn.
The government has proposed the gradual introduction of a pivot age of 64 years old, by 2027, and said it was open to dialogue that would agree on alternative mechanisms to achieve a balanced budget.
Facing pressure from the public as Christmas holidays approach and concerns on transport disruptions worsen, the government is racing to find a compromise with unions and employers, who oppose any increase in pension contributions.
In the way of Tuesday's (December 17) demonstrations that gathered 615,000 across France, the unions have called for another mass protest on December 19th and have balked at the prospect of a Christmas truce.
(Production: Michaela Cabrera, Lucien Libert, Thierry Chiarello)
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