(Bloomberg) -- Protests worldwide over retirement rules and benefits have more than tripled this year as countries from France to Iran to India grapple with demographic changes and the strains they are putting on national finances.
France has taken center-stage with a series of nationwide strikes and demonstrations that began in January against President Emmanuel Macron’s plan to raise the minimum retirement age by two years to 64.
There were more than 3,800 French protests through April, according to Bloomberg calculations based on data released by the Armed Conflict Location Event Data Project, which collects local media reports of unrest across the world.
Those numbers peaked in March — when Macron’s government survived no-confidence motions to enable the adoption of the pension reform bill without holding a full vote in parliament — and remained elevated in April.
State pension costs in developed economies are projected to soar in coming decades as a portion of gross domestic product. While Macron has argued that burden must be reined in, some countries have softened planned reforms as a result of social backlashes.
Data from ACLED, which classifies unrest in categories from battles to violence against citizens to riots and protests, shows it is not only Western countries grappling with the worldwide demographic changes.
A total of 78 countries have had media reports of protests or riots related to retirement reform this year.
Meanwhile, French labor unions have called for a fresh day of nationwide strikes and marches next Tuesday. A poll this week showed they still have majority public backing, even if support has fallen from its peak.
©2023 Bloomberg L.P.
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