France introduced a pension reform plan on Wednesday that is already testing the political resilience of President Emmanuel Macron’s administration.
The plan has triggered nationwide strike action, with the closure of rail transport, factories, and public services. An estimated 340,000 people took to the streets of France on Tuesday to protest, according to the Ministry of Interior.
The main plan entails the introduction of a €1,000 minimum monthly pension. Everyone will pay the same contributions up to an income of €120,000; beyond that level of income, contributions will be redistributed.
The mandatory minimum retirement age will be set at 62, with a bonus for those who continue working until the age of 64. That working-age threshold will not apply for the military and the police or for people working overnight, such as nurses. Overall, there will be 42 early retirement categories.
The reforms will only apply in full to people entering the labor market after 2022. The reform will not affect anyone born prior to 1975.
Currently, the French pension system has 42 separate pension schemes Under the new plan, workers from all sectors would retire at the same age.
Trade unions say that Macron is stripping workers of their benefits and will force people to work longer for smaller pensions. They want the plans scrapped.
Pension reform was a key campaign promise for Emmanuel Macron during his 2017 campaign.