Workers in France took to the streets once again, for three days at the end of last week. This was in continuation of a series of protests against President Emmanuel Macron’s pension reform, as he pushed through the infamous law with an executive order on Thursday, haven failed to win parliament’s assent.
The workers have defied security forces, setting up barricades on the street. In some towns, the protesters threw bottles at the police, who retaliated with tear gas. But even this could not dampen the workers’ fighting spirit.
Unions in several sectors have been on strike since the beginning of the year. A general strike has now been called for Thursday 23 March.
The pension reform which aims at making French workers work for longer years by increasing the minimum retirement age from 62 to 64 years, was the spark for this massive wave of resistance. But, the workers have renewed their confidence that they can change their fate through struggle, which is often the case with such historic movements.
And they are reaching further, with demands for salary increments, improved working conditions, and fundamental changes to how French society is run.
As the ruling class worldwide rededicate themselves to neoliberal reforms, to make workers bear the burden of their system’s crisis, this fightback of French workers is a beacon to the international working-class movement. This Nigerian working class can draw inspiration from this struggle, and fight now for an immediate review of the minimum wage to be a living wage.
by Yusuf LAWAL