"This reform isn't a luxury, it's not a pleasure, it's a necessity," he said.
Protesters have been emboldened by the government's use of constitutional power to ram through reforms without a vote in the National Assembly.
A ninth round of strikes and national protests will take place on Thursday.
There have been six nights of demonstrations involving hundreds of arrests in a number of cities.
Bins that have been left overflowing by refuse workers have been set alight and 13% of petrol stations are running short of fuel because of blockades at oil refineries; almost half the pumps in the Bouches-du-Rhône area of the south have run dry.
The protests have also cast a cloud over King Charles's imminent visit to France. Green MP Sandrine Rousseau called for the trip to be cancelled: "Is the priority really to receive Charles III at Versailles? Something is taking place within French society... the priority is to go and talk to society which is rising up."