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18.01.2020 Europe

Louvre reopens after being blocked by pension reform strikers

REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes
LISTEN JAN 18, 2020
REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes

The Louvre in Paris, the world's most visited museum, has reopened after being shut down by workers striking over government plans to overhaul France's pension system.

On Friday, hundreds of disappointed visitors crowded outside the Louvre, some hurling insults at strikers who blocked the entrance.

It was the first time since the strike began on 5 December that the museum had shut completely although it was forced to close some galleries last month.Union leaders are seeking to widen opposition to the pension reforms proposed by President Emmanuel Macron's government, which have triggered the longest transport strike in France in decades.

Faltering strike forces change of tactics
The unions are looking for new ways to draw attention to their protest, with the proportion of striking workers at national railway operator SNCF falling to less than five percent on Friday.

The government reform aims to forge a single pensions system from the country's 42 separate regimes, which offer early retirement and other benefits to public-sector workers as well as lawyers, physical therapists and even Paris Opera employees.

Critics say the proposals will effectively force millions of people to work longer for a smaller pension.

The Louvre welcomed 9.6 million visitors last year, most of them foreign tourists.

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