On Tuesday, December 18, retirees in France staged a demonstration in front of the Ministry of Finance, demanding the roll-back of the rise in the Generalized Social Contribution (CSG) for all retirees, and an increase in pensions. They also symbolically presented ‘gifts’ to the French president, Emmanuel Macron, and demanded their purchasing power as a return gift. The call for the protest was given by nine organizations of the retirees, including Union Confédéral des Retraités – CGT, Union confédérale des Retraités – FO, Union Nationale des Retraités CFTC etc.
Earlier, on December 14, tens of thousands of French workers took to the streets as part of the national mobilization called by the General Confederation of Labour (CGT). According to reports, around 170 rallies and demonstrations were organized throughout France on that day.
The protesters denounced the social violence unleashed by the pro-rich Macron government against the workers. They demanded an increase in wages to the index point of the officials, an increase of Smic (minimum inter-professional growth wage) to 1,800 euros, compensation for all the unemployed, the reduction of working time to 32 hours, an increase in pensions, equal pay, reinstatement of the wealth tax, a progressive tax and equal access to education.
Philippe Martinez of the CGT said, “The measures announced by Emmanuel Macron in reaction to the movement of the Yellow Vests are only a smokescreen while the liberal cap and austerity will be maintained.”
Thousands of students and youth also participated in the mobilization as organizations like Mouvement Jeunes Communistes de France (MJCF) and Étudiants Communistes declared solidarity with the mobilization.The unions of the FSU, Solidaires, SUD and the UNEF also extended their support.
MJCF called for increased mobilization until the government responded positively to the demands of the students and employees. Faced with police repression and diversions, “we demand political answers,” the movement said.
MJCF and Étudiants Communistes have organized several rounds of protests of college and high school students (Lycees) against the policies of the Macron government.
These mobilizations of the organized working class and students are aimed at orienting and channelizing the ongoing massive Yellow Vests protests towards achieving much-awaited social progress in the country.