French President Emmanuel Macron pledged a monthly increase of 100 euros in the minimum wage in France, which would cost employers nothing.
In a 13 minutes televised speech addressing the demands of the Yellow Jackets protest movement, the president said on Monday he was declaring a state of “social and economic emergency”.
Macron also announced that tax increases planned for pensions would not apply to those with incomes below 2,000 euros.
Macron said employers, who could afford to pay, had to pay their workers a year-end bonus that would be exempt from taxes and social fees.
In what seems to be an apology to the French people, Macron said he may not have improved on earlier occasions, and that he did not come to the presidency from a party or a union, but came from the votes of the French.
“We will respond to the urgent economic and social situation with strong measures by cutting taxes faster and by continuing to control our spending, but without retreating from our policy”, Macron said.
The demonstrators, dressed in yellow jackets, have closed roads around France since mid-November, initially, in protest at planned increases in petrol and diesel charges.
Since then, the demonstrations have evolved into a broader anti-government movement, with some demanding Macron’s resignation.