Ski resort workers protest Macron's pension reforms

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STORY: The workers were also protesting against the unemployment insurance reform, which will force them to work at least 6 months out of the last 24 months, against the current 4 months out of the last 28 months, to benefit from unemployment insurance.

“We don’t know how we are going to hold up until the end, there are a lot of questions regarding safety at work, regarding safety on installations,” said a representative from French trade union ‘Force Ouvriere’ in Avoriaz, Priscilla Marini.

Cable car companies, shops and restaurants in ski resorts often employ temp workers for the winter season. As they are not working the whole year, they often need to already work longer than regular workers to enjoy a decent retirement.

The ski lift and cable car traffic was not affected by the strike and most of the skiers said they were supporting the workers.

“If you need to communicate with your employers and they are not respecting you as well, going on strike is what you are going to have to do. I work in education in the UK and we are on strike sometimes as well at the moment, but I’m really glad they are not totally shutting down, because I only get couple of weeks of holiday, you know,” said Will Hadrill, a tourist from Britain.

Opinion polls show a majority of French oppose the reform, but President Emmanuel Macron and his government intend to stand their ground.

Pushing back the retirement age by two years and extending the pay-in period would yield an additional 17.7 billion euros ($19.18 billion) in annual pension contributions, allowing the system to break even by 2027, according to Labour Ministry estimates.

Unions say there are other ways to do this, such as taxing the super rich or asking employers or well-off pensioners to contribute more.