France’s prime minister added fuel to workers’ fears Friday in his first response to the nationwide strike that has left the country in a tizzy since Thursday.
“You’re going to have to work longer,” Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said in a blunt speech Friday, according to AP News. “We’re going to have to give up special pension plans.”
Philippe did try to ease concern a bit by assuring progressive reforms to the country’s current retirement system that are not “brutal.”
President Emmanuel Macron intends to unveil specifics about the overhaul to the system he has deemed unfair and financially unstable. Though the government claims it won’t change the official retirement age from 62, workers fear a requirement to work longer for less retirement pay.
On Friday, nationwide traffic jams increased, halted public transportation persisted — even in the capital of Paris, while schools, hospitals, and tourist-heavy landmarks like the Palace of Versailles, the Eiffel Tower, and the Louvre Museum, were disrupted or closed entirely, according to AP News.
The strikes — which resulted in at least 800,000 people marching Thursday — were namely peaceful, though tear gas was used by police and some protesters set fires around eastern Paris.