Dec. 11 (UPI) -- French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe on Wednesday unveiled the government's plans to overhaul the country's pensions system amid a nearly weeklong transit strike.
Philippe delivered a televised speech offering details about the project that aims to streamline France's 42 special pension plans. It prompted protests from workers including teachers and transportation workers over concerns about public service cuts and threats to the country's social safety net model.
"We took the time to consult," Philippe said. "We must now move forward."
The prime minister pledged the pension changes would be implemented in phases.
The new system will apply to people entering the workforce in 2022, while workers born before 1975 will remain under the current system. For people currently in the workforce, the new system will only be applied from 2025 and afterward.
He also said the plan would institute a minimum pension of about $1,113 and pledged that teachers would not lose money under the proposal.
"For teachers to lose a single euro of their pension would be unacceptable," Philippe said.
Lastly, Philippe said the retirement age would remain 62 but beginning in 2027 an additional two years of work would be required to receive full pension.
Unions rejected the proposal's perceived concessions, with Philippe Martinez, secretary-general of the General Confederation of Labor, calling on workers to "amplify the strike movement."
Railway protests were expected to keep train stations shut down on Thursday while some schools will also shut down.