Unions in France are watching today’s protests over pension reforms to guage how strong their position is, as negotiations with the government continue.
In March, 800,000 people mobilised. During his election campaign President Nicolas Sarkozy promised he would not touch the cherished retirement age of 60 for most workers. Now, pleading the economic crisis, that’s exactly what he’s doing.
France’s pensions gap is big and getting bigger as the population ages and lives longer, and some workers retire even earlier. Their deal, established decades ago, won’t be touched in the reform.
Latest opinion polls say 60 percent of the French are against the reforms, yet others give a similar figure for public resignation to an eventual rise in retirement age. Sarkozy insists public finances mean there’s no alternative.