Macron raises minimum wage, announces tax cuts to appease violent protests
French president, Emmanuel Macron announced increase in the minimum wage from next year in a major concession to Yellow Vest protesters who have roiled the country.
Iran Press/Europe: French President Emmanuel Macron announced on Monday a €100 per month increase in the minimum wage from next year in a major concession to Yellow Vest protesters who have roiled the country.
In his first national address following two weekends of the worst unrest in France in years, Macron sought to restore calm after accusations that his political methods and economic policies were fracturing the country.
"We want a France where one can live in dignity through one's work and on this we have gone too slowly," Macron said on prime time television. "I ask the government and parliament to do what is necessary."
The president's address came 48 hours after protesters fought street battles with riot police in Paris, hurling missiles, torching cars and looting shops.
Macron faces a delicate task: he needs to persuade the middle class and blue-collar workers that he hears their anger over a squeeze on household spending, without being exposed to charges of caving in to street politics.
He said people on the minimum wage would see their salaries increase by €100 a month from 2019 without extra costs to employers. Pensioners earning less than €2,000 would see the recent increase in social security taxes scrapped. Other measures promised include the abolition of taxes on overtime pay in 2019 and asking profit-making companies to give workers tax-free year-end bonuses.
However, he also said he would stick to his reform agenda and refused to reinstate a wealth tax.
"We will respond to the economic and social urgency with strong measures, by cutting taxes more rapidly, by keeping our spending under control, but not with U-turns," Macron said.
Four people have been killed, hundreds injured and more than 4,500 people arrested since the protests started. They were initially over a carbon tax on diesel and petrol. Prime minister Edouard Philippe announced on December 5th that the tax was “suspended”. That was later changed to “cancelled”. 103/209