Strikes and protests are common in France but, the biggest nationwide walkout in 24 years on Thursday posed a serious challenge to President Emmanuel Macron and his plans to overhaul the French pension system. 

Trains and buses were at a standstill, with hundreds of flights grounded and schools closed. More than 400,000 people are thought to have taken part across France and another 250,000 in the capital, Paris.

Public sector workers are threatening to strike beyond Christmas to oppose planned changes they say will make them work longer for less money when they retire. Macron says the reforms are long overdue.

While recent polls show seven out of 10 people want reforms to the pension system, a similar number also support the strikes.

How will Macron tackle this challenge?

Presenter: Hashem Ahelbarra

Guests:

Laura Slimani - Councillor in the French city of Rouen

Philippe Marliere - Professor of French and European politics at University College London

Jacques Reland - Senior research fellow at the Global Policy Institute and specialist in French economic policy

Source: Al Jazeera News