Emmanuel Macron's controversial reform proposals sparked a wave of protests across France in December, with public and private workers joining forces against changes to the pension system. French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe announced on Saturday the Government had invoked a rarely-used special power to pass the proposed law without the need for a parliamentary vote. The move was branded as "profoundly scandalous" by opposition parties, who have accused Mr Philippe and President Macron of attempting to bypass public scrutiny.
Trade unionists have condemned the move, with the general secretary of the French Democratic Confederation of Labour (CFDT) Laurent Berger warned it would be "disastrous for democracy" to conclude the reform debate without a proper vote.
Yves Veyrier from the Labour Force (FO) union denounced the "incomprehensible and unacceptable attitude" the French Government had adopted despite the widespread protests rocking the country through December and January.
Mr Veyrier also hit out at Mr Philippe and President Macron for taking the decision to invoke the so-called 49-3 special rule at an extraordinary Cabinet meeting that focused on France's response to the coronavirus outbreak.
Writing on Twitter, the trade unionist wrote: "FO calls for an end to the parliamentary process.
Emmanuel Macron agreed to invoke Article 49-3 to pass his pension reform plan (Image: GETTY)
Emmanuel Macron already faced a wave of protests last year because of his reform proposals (Image: PALAIS DE L'ÉLYSÉE)
"After three years, the government has failed to explain or convince, and presents a project with incomplete projections, uncertain both legally and constitutionally."
He continued: "This is the worst signal that could be given to the world of work and to massively mobilized employees.
"FO can only denounce such an attitude on the part of the government. FO, confident of his analyses, maintains its refusal of this project, requests its abandonment and withdrawal.
"This determination will not falter."
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France's Prime Minister Edouard Philippe