Friday, April 13, 2018

Macron vows to press through contested reform despite social roar

Macron vows to press through contested reform
"We will go to the end" to put on ground "essential" reform to revamp debt-ridden rail sector, French President Emmanuel Macron pledged on Thursday amid persistent public opposition and rolling strikes which risk to paralyze the country at the mid-year holiday period.

"We will go to the end in the respect of each, in consideration and without any one opposes the French between them, because that's what our country is waiting for," he said during a television interview by France channel TF1.

Earlier this month, the country's key unions CGT, Unsa, Sud and CFDT started a series of month-rolling nationwide rail strikes, with a wave of two successive days out of every five days.

They planned 36 days of action for April-June period, a move that may paralyze the eurozone's second power and world's top tourism destination.

They want to prove enough force to make French president reconsider his reform of the railway sector that targets to liberalize rail passenger services and impose new rules of recruitment for "a more efficient and unified" rail operator.

Besides, it proposed to scrap preferential terms of rail workers, including retirement on full pension at 52, a decade earlier than other French employees. 

Speaking to TF1, Macron called unions not to give in "to false fears", inviting them to "calm down".

"I heard them, but the right answer is not to stop reforming. It is to do it together," he added.

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