Why strikes threaten to bring Christmas misery to millions across France

Red flares raged and drums beat as tens of thousands of French marched in fury at President Emmanuel Macron’s bid to overhaul the country’s exorbitant pension system.

As they rumbled down Boulevard Voltaire towards Place de la Bastille, birthplace of the Revolution, propped up against a tree, a sarcastic banner read: “Will there be strikes this Christmas?”

It certainly looks that way. Two weeks into crippling industrial action that has spread to railways, schools, hospitals, air traffic control, sewage workers and lawyers, government and unions are digging in for a protracted fight to convince the French who holds the keys to saving the country’s embattled social model.

With only a quarter of…

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