Pensions: a million demonstrators, the bar of a successful mobilization?


It’s the magic number. One million demonstrators on January 19 for the first day of rallies against the pension reform. In the JDD, the national secretary of the Communist Party, Fabien Roussel, launched this challenge: “We are still 1 million to break into the street. Only this meeting matters. » For his part, the number 1 of the CGT, Philippe Martinez, affirms it: “It’s obvious, […] there will be at least 1 to 2 million demonstrators according to the unions”.

This figure will obviously be closely scrutinized because it will determine the continuation of the movement against pension reform. Therefore, a half-hearted mobilization would risk strengthening the government in its determination to push forward with its plan. If many unionists refuse to make predictions, many seem confident, especially by various indicators (400,000 signatories of a petition against pension reform, polls against the reform, 200 meeting places announced).

I believe that Thursday’s mobilization will be forceful against this particularly violent reform for the working world.believes Nathalie Verdeil, federal secretary of the CGT. “Looks huge”completes Patricia Drevon, of Force Ouvrière.

Better than December 5, 2019?

The question is not so much whether it will be a success, but the maximum of that success. We think the move will be significant, but we are not betting on the exact indicator. Instead, we put all our energy into trying to amplify that success. », points out Nathalie Verdeil, the national secretary of the CFDT in charge of pensions, who wants to be cautious. Dominique Corona, deputy general secretary of Unsa, wants to be a philosopher: “The government will always say that it is never enough and we that it is a great victory. »

The general co-delegate of Solidaires, Murielle Guilbert, ventures a prognosis: The mobilization of January 19, 2023 risks surpassing that of December 5, 2019. Four years ago, between 800,000 people (according to the police) and 1.5 million demonstrators (according to the CGT) marched in the streets. He was then the most important figure in history when it came to pension reform.

In 1995, the first demonstration against the Juppé plan thus mobilized between 500,000 (according to the police) and 1 million people (according to the unions). In 2003, between 250,000 (according to the police) and 500,000 people (according to the CGT) marched in the street, while in 2010, the figure ranged between 400,000 people (according to the police) and 800,000 (according to the CGT ).

A symbolic number

The figure of one million will therefore be particularly symbolic, but it does not determine the entire future of a pension reform bill. As evidence, although the 1995 protest had begun more modestly on November 24, between 1 and 2 million protesters had ended up pounding the pavement by December 12, 1995. On November 16, Prime Minister Alain Juppé, had declared in southwest : “If two million people take to the streets, my government will not survive. » An almost self-fulfilling prediction.

On the other hand, in 2019, the first mobilization had been the largest (800,000 demonstrators, according to the police) and the movement had only waned over the weeks. The success of January 19 will also be determined by the number of sectors on strike, and especially if these movements are of long duration, as in 2019 in RATP and SNCF.

The government has planned a fairly quick discussion in Parliament (February-March) and will try to hold out until the text is approved in the Assembly and the Senate. The inter-union must meet on the evening of January 19 to discuss the consequences of the movement. “We are already thinking about the next actions, says Murielle Guilbert of Solidaires. The idea is that the movement takes a crescendo. It is believed to be the construction of renewable strikes that could derail government reform. »

Source : Le JDD

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