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France to grind to a halt: Furious transport workers to strike over Macron pension reforms

He argues the new system will be fairer and more sustainable, as it will ensure that all French workers have the same pension rights and help plug a chronic deficit.

But workers for the SNCF national railway and Paris public transport operator RATP are angry because the changes could strip them of their special pension rights, which allow them to retire at 52, a decade earlier than the legal retirement age for a full public pension.

Many other professions have a special pension regime. Aircrews are also allowed to retire early while lawyers and doctors pay less tax.

M Macron, for his part, slammed unions for organising protests against a reform they know very little about.

“The planned protest action strikes me as odd,” he said, adding unions were “playing on people’s fears” and encouraging citizens to denounce “a reform whose exact terms remain unknown”.

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