General Strike in France Is Fresh Test for Emmanuel Macron as Paris Starts to Shut Down

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The French are fiercely protective of their world-beating pension arrangements, and indeed, the government does not dare tinker with the basics: It is not proposing to spend less on pensions or to make people retire later.

Instead, Mr. Macron’s idea is to merge all these disparate systems, public and private, into one state-managed system in which workers accumulate points over the course of a working life and then cash them in.

His instinct is always to rationalize and he says his system will be fairer, though there are concerns that his changes will mean less for some.

Hervé Boulhol, a pensions specialist at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Developm

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