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France’s pension reform will be gradual & ‘not brutal,’ PM Philippe says after protests

France’s pension reform will be gradual & ‘not brutal,’ PM Philippe says after protests

Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said on Friday he was sticking with plans to reform France’s pension system but insisted change would be gradual and “not brutal,” Reuters reports.

“I believe in social dialogue… I will never be in a logic of confrontation,” Edouard Philippe said. The statement came after unions called for a new day of strikes and demonstrations against the government’s pension reform plans on Tuesday.

France is grappling with a second day of travel chaos and understaffed schools and hospitals after street protests on Thursday drew at least 800,000 people.

Railways company SNCF said on Friday it expected rail traffic would still be heavily disrupted on Monday, based on statements from transport unions. “Over the weekend, we expect to see a level of disruption similar to the past two days, with about 10 to 15 percent of trains available… It looks like Monday will still be very difficult,” SNCF spokeswoman Agnes Ogier said.