(Paris) Laurent Berger, the secretary general of the first French union, the CFDT, announced on Wednesday, in the midst of a challenge to the pension reform, that he would leave office on June 21.

“I think that, on June 21, I will leave a CFDT which is doing well,” said Mr. Berger in an interview with the daily Le Monde, adding that he had proposed to the national office that Marylise Léon, current number two, succeed him. The first two French unions should therefore be led by women, Sophie Binet having succeeded on March 31 to Philippe Martinez at the CGT.

“It’s neither a whim nor a choice dictated by current events”, assured the 54-year-old trade unionist, after three months of contesting the pension reform, judging it normal that the CFDT, which he has led since 2012, “renewes itself”, even if it recognizes “a particular period”.

Despite 12 days of action and the biggest mobilizations in the streets for decades, the pension reform was adopted on March 20 without a vote in the National Assembly, then promulgated by President Emmanuel Macron in the wake of its validation by the Constitutional Council on April 14.

From the presentation of the reform on January 10 with the postponement of the legal age of departure to 64, Laurent Berger had shown himself to be very offensive, taking the lead in the dispute within the inter-union, in close connection with his CGT counterpart Philippe Martinez.

According to him, the fight for pensions “is not over” and he calls again for the French to take to the streets “in a massive way” on May 1.

Laurent Berger scratches in passing a President of the Republic who “wiped his feet on the workers”.