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Fresh strikes and protests as Macron pushes ahead with pension reforms

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Fresh strikes and protests as Macron pushes ahead with pension reforms
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AFP
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Fresh strikes and protests hit France on Friday as Emmanuel Macron presented his controversial pension reforms to senior ministers.

While travellers faced renewed disruption on the Paris metro and regional trains, it was not on the same scale of earlier industrial action.

A protest is going ahead in Paris and there are other ones scheduled for Lyon, Marseille, Toulouse, Bordeaux and Lille.

Unions are hopeful that Friday's actions will revive the opposition to President Macron's signature reform.

Macron's plans involve streamlining 42 retirement systems into a single points-based and scrapping special provisions for certain public sector workers.

The reforms prompted one of the longest strikes in French history before the government agreed to kick plans to raise the retirement age into the long grass.

The new points system will come into place starting in 2022 for the youngest workers, and then gradually for older workers. It will only affect those born after 1974.

Many details remain undecided and will be announced by the government later.

Macron argues that the old system was unfair, outdated and too costly for a country with growing life expectancy. Unions say the new plan threatens hard-won workers rights.

Once the reforms are approved by senior government ministers it will be sent to France's parliament, the National Assembly.

MPs are expected to begin examining the proposed legislation next week, with a first vote set for early March.

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