France’s Senate voted late Saturday to approve a deeply unpopular reform to the country’s pension system. Senators passed the reforms by 195 votes to 112, bringing the package another step closer to becoming law.
A committee will now write up a final draft, which will then be submitted to both the Senate and National Assembly for a final vote.
Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne told AFP after the vote: “An important step was taken this evening with a broad vote on the pension reform text in the Senate.”
However, a senior politician has written a letter to Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo outlining the overflowing rubbish issue in the French capital.
The mayor of the 6th arrondissement added that he doesn’t begrudge the garbage collectors’ right to strike, but the issue has become a health hazard and must be addressed.
In a statement he said: “The crisis that we have experienced recently requires us to exercise caution.”
Unions, which have fiercely opposed the measures, still hoped on Saturday to force Emmanuel Macron to back down.
However, nationwide protests have been reported much smaller than expected.
Marylise Leon, deputy leader of the CFDT union, told the broadcaster Franceinfo on Saturday: “This is the final stretch.
“The endgame is now.”
Tensions flared in the evening, with authorities in Paris announcing they had made 32 arrests after some protesters threw objects at security forces, with rubbish bins burned and windows broken.
This week, Macron twice turned down urgent calls by unions to meet with him in a last-ditch attempt to get him to change his mind, it was reported.
The interior ministry said some 368,000 people showed up for protests across the country.
This is less than half of the 800,000 to one million that police had predicted.
In Paris, 48,000 people took part in rallies, compared to police forecasts of around 100,000.
On the last big strike and protest day on Tuesday, turnout was just under 1.3 million people according to police, and more than three million according to unions.
*This story has not been edited by The Infallible staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.