BlackRock’s Paris Headquarters Infiltrated by Protestors

Paigambar Mohan Raj
Source: The New York Times

French protestors briefly infiltrated BlackRock’s Paris headquarters. A few dozen trade unionists invaded the U.S. based investment firm‘s offices, raising their voices against President Emmanuel Macron’s pension changes. The French government plans to increase the retirement age from 62 to 64. The rioters were chanting slogans and lighting fireworks inside the premises.

The infiltration of the $10-trillion asset manager took place on the 11th day of nationwide union-organized protests. Furthermore, protestors were chanting the movement’s slogan, “On est la,” which translates to “We are here.”

In other European countries, private pension funds partially finance pension plans. In France, on the other hand, people who are still working, fund the pensions of those in retirement. However, according to the government, the pension system needs to be reformed to remain functional. The Constitutional Council is anticipated to make a decision sometime this month. However, the opposition is expecting that it will severely restrict his idea.

During a week-long sanitation workers’ strike, mountains of trash weighing up to 10,000 tons piled up on the streets of Paris. The employees oppose raising the retirement age from 57 to 59. Because their work is physically more demanding, sanitation workers have a lower retirement age.

Why was BlackRock’s Paris office targeted?

According to Françoise Onic, BlackRock was a focus of the protesters due to its involvement with private pension funds. Moreover, Onic stated that “only the rich will be able to benefit from such a setup,” referring to the new pension plans.

BlackRock is the largest investment manager in the world. The firm handles nearly $10 trillion worth of assets, which is more than the GDP of many countries.

Moreover, this is not the first time protestors have invaded BlackRock’s offices in Paris. In January 2020, climate activists infiltrated the premises to force the firm to pull out of fossil fuel investments.