Pension Protests in France Create Communication Challenges

The Story

In reaction to the French government's planned pension reforms, hundreds of thousands of people have taken to the streets.  Government reforms include raising the retirement age from 60 to 62 and raising the age at which people can receive full state pensions from 65 to 67.  Protestors have blocked access to fuel sources and transportation.  (Lady Gaga had to cancel two concerts in Paris!)

France Protests Retirement Age

Discussion Starters

 Assignment Ideas

  • Search for online comments about the pension reform and protests.  What's the social media buzz about the situation?  Does reading these comments change your perspective in some way?  Discuss your views in small groups.
  • Write an article, on behalf of the French government, that might be published throughout the country.  How can you explain the pension reform decisions, while acknowledging the public outcry?  
  • Practice listening skills with a partner as you discuss the situation.  Have one person take a position to criticize either the pension reforms or the protests.  As you explain your perspective, your partner should use active listening skills.  As the listener, avoid getting into a debate: just use good listening skills, such as paraphrasing, reflecting, and using nonverbal techniques. You may switch roles: the listener now takes the opposite view to explain his or her perspective.