Macron's government narrowly survives no-confidence vote on pension reform
Protests against raising retirement age to 64 expected to continue
President Emmanuel Macron's government narrowly survived a no-confidence motion in the National Assembly on Monday, after bypassing the lower house to push through a deeply unpopular change to the pension system.\
Some 278 MPs voted in favour of a tripartisan, no-confidence motion tabled by a centrist party and others, just nine short of the 287 needed for it to succeed.
A second motion of no-confidence, tabled by the far-right National Rally (RN), had no chance of going through later on Monday as other opposition parties said they would not vote for it.
A successful no-confidence vote would have sunk the government and killed the legislation, which is set to raise the retirement age by two years to 64.
The outcome will be a relief to Macron, but he still faces significant headwinds.
For one thing, the centrist president's failure to find enough support in parliament to put his pension reform to a vote has undermined his reformist agenda and weakened his leadership.
Barclays analysts said the government would remain in place, "although it would be significantly weakened, while social protests against the reform would likely continue for some weeks, which could negatively affect the French economy."
Unions and protesters, angry with the reform and with the fact that the pension reform was adopted without a vote, said they would carry on with strikes and protests.
"We'll meet again on Thursday," Helene Mayans, of the hard-left CGT union, said at a rally in Paris.
Violent unrest has erupted across the country and trade unions have promised to intensify their strike action, leaving Macron to face the most dangerous challenge to his authority since the yellow vest uprising over four years ago.
A ninth nationwide day of strikes and protests is scheduled on Thursday.
Opposition parties will also challenge the bill in the Constitutional Council, which could decide to strike down some or all of it — if it considers it breaches the constitution.
Strikes could affect diesel supply
Shipments of refined products from French refinery and depots were blocked on Monday by a 13th day of strike action, though some refineries operated with a reduced flow.
There is an increasing expectation of diesel supply shortages in France and Europe as a result of the strike-caused outages, which are weighing on North Sea and Nigerian crude prices and lifting the spot price of diesel higher than the forward price, traders said.
Garbage in Paris is piling ever higher and reeking of rotting food on the 15th day of a strike by collectors.
The three main incinerators serving the French capital have been mostly blocked, as has a garbage sorting centre northwest of Paris.
With files from The Associated Press