PARIS, March 13 (AP) — An unpopular bill to raise France’s retirement age from 62 to 64 got a boost and the French Senate passed the measure despite strikes, street protests and A lot of uncollected garbage piles up.
French Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne tweeted Saturday night after the 195-112 vote that she was looking forward to the final passage of the bill to “secure the future of our retirement system”.
President Emmanuel Macron’s exemplary legislation – which poses risks for the government – must now navigate thorny political terrain with multiple potential outcomes.
Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne called Sunday night’s meeting and ordered ministers to seek consensus among lawmakers in the coming days.
The government hopes it will not need to resort to special constitutional options to force pension reforms to pass without a vote. Borne has used the mechanism 10 times before, and invoking it on the politically sensitive issue of retirement could spark a motion of no confidence.
Government spokesman Olivier Veran stressed after the meeting that the government wanted to avoid the constitutional option. But when asked, he added, “we will not abandon our retirement reform” plan.
Uncollected waste is piling up in Paris and other cities while garbage workers are on strike as unions oppose the bill. Services in other sectors, such as energy and transport, have also been affected but are improving.
Some 5,400 tonnes of rubbish had been piled up on the streets of the French capital as of Sunday, including in front of the Senate chamber building, Paris City Hall said. The stench of rotting fish and other food wafted in the wind, especially around some restaurants.
Deputy mayor for sanitation Colombe Brossel was quoted by television news channel CNews as saying the problem was mainly due to clogged incinerators.
Such trials may not end anytime soon. Unions plan more strikes and an eighth round of nationwide protests on Wednesday, when the pensions bill is brought before a committee of seven senators and seven MPs.
The task of the joint committee is to find a compromise between the Senate and the National Assembly’s versions of the legislation.
Parliamentary approval would give the pension scheme largely legitimacy and the government wants to avoid invoking its special constitutional powers to pass the bill.
But there are multiple circumstances before legislation becomes law, making its path uncertain.
If a parliamentary committee reaches an agreement on Wednesday, the approved text will be voted on in the Senate and National Assembly the next day. However, the outcome of the National Assembly, in which Macron’s centrist coalition lost its majority last year, is difficult to predict.
If the committee fails to reach an agreement, the bill could return to the National Assembly for more debate and a vote before being considered by the Senate before returning to parliament.
Prime Minister Byrne expressed optimism on Twitter that the measure would “finally be passed in the coming days”.
Macron has yet to respond to union requests for a “citizens consultation” on the legislation, which came after Saturday’s protests against raising the retirement age drew far fewer people than the previous round of marches four days ago.
The unions insist that the French people are voting against the reforms in the streets and through strikes. (Associated Press)
(This is an unedited and auto-generated story from a Syndicated News feed, the content body may not have been modified or edited by LatestLY staff)