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Ballerinas in white tutus danced scenes from Swan Lake on the forecourt of the Palais Garnier in Paris on Tuesday to protest against French President Emmanuel Macrons plans to scrap their special pension benefits.
Backed by musicians from the Paris Symphony Orchestra, the dancers performed their impromptu 20-minute rendition before hundreds of onlookers. Behind them were banners reading “Culture in danger”.
Paris Opera dancers have a bespoke pension plan dating back to the 17th century. It includes the right to retire on a full pension at the age of 42, two decades earlier than the average worker.
They stand to lose those benefits if Macron pushes ahead with a planned overhaul of a convoluted pension system that he says will be fairer, incentivise workers to stay in the labour force until 64 and balance the pension budget.
“We start classical dance at the age of 8. By our late teenage years, were getting recurring injuries,” said ballerina Héloïse Jocqueviel. “Once you reach the age of 42, youre already suffering from arthritis, stress fractures, hernias and in some cases titanium hips.
“Its hard to maintain a level of excellence until 42, but 64 seems impossible.”
The dancers have been on strike alongside other public sector workers, including performers from the state-run ComédieRead More – Source