France hit by fresh wave of stirs

Strikers fight pension reform

France hit by fresh wave of stirs

Sarkozy’s pension plan is becoming one of the biggest battles of his presidency, pitting him against unions which crushed a previous attempt to reform the system in 1995; but his administration is refusing to buckle under the pressure.

“We have reached the limit of the (concessions) that are possible,” Prime Minister Francois Fillon said. Rail services, flights and sea ports ran below capacity as the unions kept up their battle against Sarkozy’s reform, intended to make people work longer for their pensions, including raising the minimum retirement age to 62 from 60.

The reform partly aims to reduce a ballooning pension deficit and safeguard France’s coveted AAA credit rating. Walkouts reduced flights from Paris’s main airports by as much as 50 per cent. The Paris metro ran limited services and the Eiffel Tower was closed for lack of staff.

Students chanted slogans, waved banners and climbed up on the roofs of bus shelters with loudspeakers.

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