The French official leading a controversial pensions overhaul stepped down on Monday over a scandal involving undeclared payments, as a crippling transport strike against the proposals entered its 12th day.
Jean-Paul Delevoye became the target of unions’ ire after admitting over the weekend that he had failed to disclose 13 private sector posts, both paid and unpaid, in a recent asset declaration.
One of his jobs, as president of the Parallaxe education think-tank, paid nearly 5,400 euros ($6,000) a month on top of his ministerial salary money he should have forfeited under a 2013 political transparency law.
“Jean-Paul Delevoye made these omissions in good faith, he will now be able to explain himself,” an official in the French presidency said, adding that Emmanuel Macron will name a new commissioner “as soon as possible”.
Delevoye has said he will pay back the money, totalling more than 120,000 euros since September 2017.
But Laurent Berger, head of France’s largest union, the CFDT, called Delevoye’s omissions “shocking”, telling France Info radio that “they obviously damage his credibility”.
The unions are demanding that Macron drop his plan to forge a single pensions system out of the existing 42 schemes arguing that millions would have to delay their retirement to get a full pension.
Macron has expressed his “solidarity” with the millions affected by the strikes but has so far shown no sign of backing down on what he has called “a historic reform”.