France: National pension protests to test Macron presidency

Millions will take to the streets across France to protest President Emmanuel Macron's proposed pension reforms, which will make the nation's aging population work for longer

before they see retirement benefits. Angry French workers have halted high-speed trains and disrupted electricity supplies in several parts of the country. The majority of

trains have been cancelled. Only 20% of flights from Paris' Orly Airport were cancelled with warnings of delays. The state argues the reforms are the only way to

keep the system solvent. The nominal retirement age in France will rise to 64 from 62 as per the reforms. What do we know about the proposed pension reforms? All polls

conducted suggest that most French citizens oppose the reform. The bill is a major test for Macron. Previous governments, of various parties, have tried and failed to pass

reforms to keep the pension system afloat, when faced with France's notorious unions. Macron's government first unveiled details of the proposed reform in 2019. He has

faced severe pushback in the form of protests. On Monday, Macron will formally pesent the bill which is expected to proceed to the Parliament next month. Why are

workers striking? Unions argue that the move threatens worker rights. Instead, they propose a tax on the wealthy or higher payroll contributions from employers to the pension

system. France is expected to see over 200 rallies on Thursday with participation from all unions. While a part of the police force is bracing for possible

violence, remaining officers have joined the protests to express their opposition as well.