French Polynesia govt drops pension plans in face of protests

2:41 pm on 10 March 2018
The French Polynesia parliament building

The assembly building in Papeete was stormed by protesters on Thursday, as the government was poised to pass pension reforms. Photo: RNZ

The French Polynesian government has withdrawn its pension reform plan in the face of strikes and protests.

On the third day of a general strike, several demonstrators forced their way into the territorial assembly poised to adopt the reform which would have hiked the retirement age from 60 to 62.

This coincided with a mass rally in Papeete attended by an estimated 4,000 people opposed to the change.

The unions threatened to paralyse the economy from today, prompting Mr Fritch to ask the assembly president to withdraw the reform.

He says in the preceding talks those opposed to reforming the pension system offered no contributions.

Mr Fritch says there appears to have been a destabilisation campaign with political ends as it has happened in the past.

Before withdrawing the plan, Mr Fritch offered amendments such as subjecting government ministers to the same pension terms as the general public.

For weeks, Mr Fritch warned that failing to make the proposed changes would bankrupt the entire system within a couple of years.