September 16, 2019
Lawyers, nurses, doctors, airline pilots are among many professionals are striking in Paris to protest the government’s pension reforms. Their different pension schemes total over ten billion euros – and they do not want to see it absorbed by the standardised system the government is proposing.
After last week’s mass public transport strike, on Monday over 700,000 skilled workers from 14 different fields are expected to be absent. It’s the first time professionals, from nurses to airline pilots, will march together under the same banner, “SOS retraites”, to defend their own specific pension plans.
“It’s a hold up,” exclaims Jean-Paul Hamon, the president of the Federation of Doctors in France. “They want to grab what we saved.
“It is not a strike of the rich. We work on average 60 hours per week. The nurses, who have a tough job and earn a low salary, will have to contribute more towards their retirement – only to earn a pension of 900 euros per month. That’s enough to make us very angry.”
Unprecedented lawyers strike
The Chairperson of the Paris Bar, Christiane Feral-Schuhl, said that it is unprecedented for such a larger number of lawyers to mobilise for today’s strike. Half of France’s 700,000 lawyers work in and around Paris.
Like doctors, lawyers fear that their pension fund of around 2 billion euros will disappear under the government’s new system.
Lawyer Xavier Autain, a member of the umbrella SOS Retraite protest group, told RFI that his colleagues contribute some 80 to 90 million euros to the general pension plan for the rest of the population.
“We don’t understand why the government wants to switch us over to a general pension plan. Ours has been in existence since 1954 and we’ve managed it well with contributions which are higher than those set up under the general pension plan,” he says.