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World French union calls for break in transport strikes over Christmas

04:46  15 december  2019
04:46  15 december  2019 Source:   reuters.com

French government says it is determined on pension reform as strikes continue

  French government says it is determined on pension reform as strikes continue The French government said it would see through planned pension reforms but said the new system that has sparked nationwide strikes would be introduced gradually and public concerns would be addressed. © Photo by SYLVAIN THOMAS/AFP via Getty Images French President Emmanuel Macron speaks during a ceremony in Nimes, southern France, on December 6, 2019, held to pay tribute to the three rescuers who died late December 1. - Three rescuers died in a helicopter accident as they were rescuing inhabitants during bad weather at the Cote d'Azur, southern France.

PARIS (Reuters) - France's CFDT union is opposed to transport strikes over the Christmas period but will call for new actions in January if the government does not drop a pension reform proposal that would encourage more years of work, its leader said on Sunday.

France's CGT union said on Thursday there would be no break in transport strikes over the Christmas period unless the government backed down on pension

PARIS (Reuters) - France's CFDT union is opposed to transport strikes over the Christmas period but will call for new actions in January if the government does not drop a pension reform proposal that would encourage more years of work, its leader said on Sunday.

Day 7 of French transport strikes, PM to offer proposals

  Day 7 of French transport strikes, PM to offer proposals France's prime minister is expected to unveil proposals on pension reforms that might calm tensions on the seventh straight day of a crippling transport strike. Hundreds of thousands of angry protesters have marched through French cities. Hundreds of thousands of angry protesters have marched through French cities.

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France's CGT union said on Thursday there would be no break in transport strikes over the Christmas period unless the government backed down on pension Following Philippe’s speech on Wednesday, the head of the CGT union accused the government of turning a deaf ear to the strikers .

In a major overhaul of its pension scheme, the French government has proposed that people work two years longer to get a full pension, drawing a hostile response from trade unions who said they would step up strike action to force an about-face.

The reform-minded CFDT had stayed out of the strike, which has caused travel chaos across the country since Dec. 5. But it said a "red line" had been crossed and called on members to join mass protests on Tuesday.

"Let's be clear: CFDT railway workers do not want a blockage during the holidays. Then in January (...) if the text has not changed, the CFDT will continue to mobilize," CFDT Secretary General Laurent Berger told Journal du Dimanche.

"We should not make users pay the bill. It would be unbearable if they could not spend this holiday season with their loved ones. We have to break the deadlock," he also said.

French govt open to negotiate as unions pursue pension strike

  French govt open to negotiate as unions pursue pension strike French officials said Thursday they were open to negotiating a plan that could push back many people's retirement to 64, after unions vowed to maintain a transport strike through the year-end holidays unless the government backs down on its pension overhaul. "There's room for negotiating, over the terms for arduous jobs, over the methods for balancing the budget," Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire told France 2 television. "There's room for negotiating, over the terms for arduous jobs, over the methods for balancing the budget," Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire told France 2 television.

Labour union CGT said on Thursday there would be no break in transport strikes over the Christmas period unless the government backed down on pension reform.

France's CGT union said on Thursday there would be no break in transport strikes over the Christmas period unless the government backed down “No Christmas break unless the government comes to its senses”, Laurent Brun, head of CGT’s railway branch, said on French radio Franceinfo.

In contrast, hardline CGT union on Thursday had warned that there would be no break for Christmas unless the government dropped the whole pension reform plan.

Prime Minister Edouard Philippe told Le Parisien Dimanche he would meet unions next week and asked everyone to take responsibility ahead of Christmas.

"I don't think the French would accept that some people could deprive them of this moment," Philippe said.

Junior economy minister Agnes Pannier-Runacher said on Saturday that the proposal to encourage people to work until 64 through a system of bonuses and discounts could still be negotiated.

French retailers and hoteliers have warned that their crucial Christmas season could be derailed if the transport strike drags on for much longer.

(Reporting by Sybille de La Hamaide; Editing by David Gregorio)

Berlin police evacuate Christmas market that was attacked in 2016 .
Berlin police on Saturday evacuated a Christmas market that was the scene of a fatal attack three years ago to investigate a suspicious object. © Reuters/ANNEGRET HILSE Police evacuated a Christmas market in Berlin Tunisian Anis Amri ploughed a truck into the Christmas market at Breitscheidplatz in 2016, killing 12 people. Italian police subsequently shot him dead after he fled Germany."Currently, our colleagues are working at the #Breitscheidplatz Christmas Market and are clearing it in order to follow up indications of a possibly suspicious object," Berlin police tweeted.

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