Thousands of trade union members demonstrated in Paris on Tuesday, the eve of the announcement of plans to reform France’s pension system.
They said they wanted to send a message to the government of President Nicolas Sarkozy that it will face stiff resistance to raising the legal retirement age from the current 60 – which is one of the lowest among leading EU countries.
It is all part of a package of measures being unveiled which is intended to increase income from contributions and taxes.
French politicians are scrambling to plug the financial gaps caused by an ageing population that, on average, claims pensions for a longer period than in any other developed nation.
The cabinet wants to extend the length of time workers have to pay contributions in order to receive a full pension and increase how much higher earners have to pay.
Pension spending is now at 14.4 percent of French GDP.