France is heading for more strike misery after unions rejected en masse President Emmanuel Macron’s pension reform plan despite apparent concessions, including delaying its starting date. In a much-awaited televised address, French prime minister Edouard Philippe confirmed on Wednesday that a new “universal” pension system would be implemented and that the current patchwork of 42 different regimes, some with lavish perks, would be phased out. Current pension calculations based on a private sector worker’s 25 best earning years, or six months for public servants are to be replaced by a universal points-based scheme. But with France entering its seventh day of crippling strikes with rail lines around the country blocked, he said the controversial changes would be introduced “without brutality”, and would not affect workers born before 1975.
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