Dozens of protesters in Paris forced their way into the building housing BlackRock’s offices last Thursday as part of their ongoing demonstrations against the government’s pension reforms, CNN reported.
A mob of about 100 people, including protesters from several labor unions, entered the ground floor of the Centorial office block waving red flares and firing smoke bombs. The protesters remained in the building for about 10 minutes, chanting anti-pension reform slogans. However, no protesters made it to BlackRock’s offices on the third floor.
The protests against the French government’s plan to raise the retirement age from 62 to 64 have continued for weeks now after the government triggered special powers in March to force the pension reforms through parliament without a vote.
Under the reforms, starting in 2027, French citizens will be required to work 2 years longer if they want to receive their full pension benefits from the state.
While BlackRock has played no role in the pension reforms, the workers targeted the asset manager over its work for private pension funds, according to Reuters.
The government insists the reforms are necessary to avoid a looming funding deficit. However, the reforms come at a time when the cost of living is increasing, angering workers. While inflation in France has fallen from a record high in February, food prices continue to rise.
Throughout the country, rolling strike action has caused significant disruptions in transportation services, schools, and businesses since the beginning of the year.
During protests on March 23 in which demonstrators set fires, damaged property, and set off smoke bombs, 123 police officers were injured and at least 80 people were arrested.
According to the Interior Ministry, 11,500 police officers were deployed throughout the country for last Thursday’s protests.
Although the pension reforms would increase the retirement age in France to 64, that is still lower than the norm in Europe and other Western countries where the retirement age is at least 65 and moving toward 67.