Tags: French | Parliament | Final | Approval to Pension Reform

French Parliament Gives Final Approval to Pension Reform

Wednesday, 27 Oct 2010 11:59 AM

France's parliament has given final approval to a bill to raise the retirement age from 60 to 62, a reform that has sparked weeks of strikes and street protests.

The National Assembly approved the final text of the bill in a 336-233 vote Wednesday, marking its final hurdle in parliament. Conservative President Nicolas Sarkozy is not expected to sign it for several weeks.

The vote comes as two straight weeks of pension strikes are losing momentum. Still, unions hope to revive the movement Thursday with nationwide street demonstrations and strikes expected to cause new hassles for air travelers.

The vote in the National Assembly comes as protests over President Nicolas Sarkozy's pension reforms are losing momentum. Unions are hoping to revive the movement with nationwide strikes and demonstrations Thursday.

Although some striking refinery workers have gone back to work, French drivers are still facing substantial fuel shortages: As of Tuesday evening, about one gas station in five was still closed down, with the worst problems around Paris and in western France.

Striking dock workers have exacerbated the fuel shortages. Oil tankers are lined up in the Mediterranean as far as the eye can see off the port of Marseille, waiting to unload, and the northern port of Le Havre faces a similar situation.

Unions see retirement at 60 as a cornerstone of France's generous social benefit system, but the conservative government says the entire pension system is in jeopardy without the reform because French people are living longer.

Millions have marched against the plan, and strikes and protests have caused travel chaos, school closures and fuel shortages for weeks.

After Wednesday's vote, the reform then will face challenges by the opposition Socialists before the country's Constitutional Council.

Sarkozy is not expected to sign it until mid-November at the earliest.

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France's parliament has given final approval to a bill to raise the retirement age from 60 to 62, a reform that has sparked weeks of strikes and street protests. The National Assembly approved the final text of the bill in a 336-233 vote Wednesday, marking its final hurdle...
French,Parliament,Final,Approval to Pension Reform
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2010-59-27
Wednesday, 27 Oct 2010 11:59 AM
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