French labour unions called for two more days of nationwide strikes and street demonstrations to protest the government’s controversial pension reform plans reports the Journal of Commerce. The unions named Oct. 28 and Nov. 6 as the next days of action as the government accelerated passage of the reform bill that would increase the minimum retirement age to 62 from 60.
As the Senate prepared to vote on the bill Friday night, splits appeared in union ranks over whether to continue the protests, which dockworkers joined Oct. 19. Two of the country’s eight largest unions said they will call off a strike after the legislation passes into law, likely to happen early next week ahead of the next planned walkout. However, the militant CGT union, which has a large membership among dockworkers, is backing further strike action, meaning the nation’s major ports, including Marseille and Le Havre, the largest box port, likely will shut down on Oct. 28. Meanwhile, a separate strike at the port of Marseille’s Fos-Lavera oil terminal over plans to privatize stevedoring continued into its 26th day Friday stranding 69 ships offshore waiting to unload. The port authority said it will start ordering ships to leave soon because anchorages off the oil terminal and the neighboring general cargo, roll-on, roll-off and container port, are full.