French oil sector simmers amid pension reform-fueled strike plans

Workers in the French oil industry called for strikes to protest new pension reform revealed by the government.

The oil branch of the General Confederation of Labor (CGT) on Wednesday announced the industrial actions, including a 24-hour walkout for Jan. 19, a day after the details of the pension reform legislation were revealed by French Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne.

The draft bill, which includes an increase to the retirement age from 62 to 64 in 2030, immediately triggered a wave of outrage from workers and unions when the government announced its preparation last year.

Besides next week's walkout, the CGT also plans to go on strike for 48 hours on Jan. 26 and for 72 hours on Feb. 6, with a possible extension and halt to refinery work, according to a statement from the union.

The strikes include all production and distribution sites, as well as administrative staff, the statement read.

The country's eight main labor unions issued a joint statement on Tuesday calling for a nationwide strike and demonstrations on Jan. 19, before the draft reform is presented to the Council of Ministers on Jan. 23.

Cabinet members said on Wednesday that they did not fear the prospect of demonstrations against the pension reform, which was among the election promises of President Emmanuel Macron.

Starting in 2027, the change will also require at least 43 years of work to be eligible for full pensions, Prime Minister Borne said in her statement.

She said the minimum pension would also rise by 85% of the minimum wage, meaning around €1,200 ($1,288) per month.

Source: Anadolu Agency