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Unionists, 'yellow vests' march in Paris against Macron's pension reform

Thousands of labour unionists and 'yellow vests' marched together in Paris against the French government's planned pension reform as nationwide strikes entered the 24th consecutive day.

Industrial action against President Emmanuel Macron's reforms has crippled train services in the capital over the past two weeks and has also affected other main Paris stations such as the Gare du Nord, which handles Eurostar services to London and Brussels, and the Gare de l'Est.

"We're ready to hold for quite a while, some sectors voted to continue the strikes until the 11th of January, which shows that we are very determined," said metro conductor and transport union representative Laurent Djebali.

Defying union anger, Prime Minister Edouard Philippe has said France would replace a convoluted system of more than 42 separate state-funded plans with a universal, points-based system that will apply to those entering the job market for the first time in 2022.

"We want a system where we can project ourselves in the future, that gives us assurances and allows for the maintaining of the purchasing power of pensioners, and so not the points system," said teachers union representative Valerie Sipahimalani.

Philippe's office said it would restart talks with unions on pension reform on Jan. 7. Separate talks will also be held with teachers' and hospital workers' unions from Jan. 13, the government said.

Unions have already scheduled more demonstrations for Jan. 9 against the reforms, which would scrap special regimes for sectors like the railways and make people work to 64 to draw a full pension.

On the sidelines of Saturday's protest, a prominent figure of the 'yellow vest' movement Jerome Rodrigues was allegedly assaulted by police and lost his glass eye causing outrage among other protesters. Rodrigues was injured in his right eye during a 'yellow vest' protest in January after being hit by a projectile fired by police.

(Source: Reuters) 

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