The French unions conduct a day of widespread strikes and protests over President Macron's proposals to raise the retirement age on Thursday, putting the reform agenda on the line.
The official retirement age will increase from 62 to 64 thanks to a new measure that must be approved by parliament. Services for commuter and intercity trains are severely affected. Numerous public facilities, including schools, are closed. One out of every five flights at Paris' Orly airport has been cancelled.
Thousands-strong protests are anticipated in Paris and other cities, and police will be present in large numbers to prevent any violence by ultra-left "black bloc" infiltrators. In accordance with the plans presented earlier this month by Prime Minister Élisabeth Borne, starting in 2027, individuals will need to work 43 years in addition to the current 42 years to be eligible for a full pension.
According to a recent IFOP poll, 68% of the population opposes the reform, despite it being hailed by the administration as a crucial step in preserving France's share-out pension system.