French police clashed with protesters marching through the streets of Paris, Saturday, January 11, following a breakdown in negotiations between the French government and the trade unions over pension reform.
READ MORE: The French prime minister informed the unions behind a crippling railway strike over pension reform Saturday that he is open to backing down on one of the most controversial proposals: raising the full pension eligibility age to 64.
Prime Minister Edouard Philippe wrote to unions one day after the French government and labor representatives engaged in talks that had seemed to end in a stalemate after more than a month of strikes and protests.
Philippe’s letter said that the plan to raise the full pension eligibility age from 62 to 64 – the unions’ major sticking point – was open to negotiation. It was the first time the French government overtly indicated room for movement on the retirement age issue. The overture could signal hope for ending the France’s longest transport strikes in decades.
However, Philippe said any compromise was contingent on first finding a way of paying for the pensions system in a country where a record number of people are over age 90.