French unions urge government to relax pension rules

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French unions urge government to relax pension rules

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From Paris to Marseille, from Lille to Lyon. An unprecedented number of people have reportedly been protesting against pension reforms in France.

Unions claims nearly three million rallied across the country. The police estimate there were just under a million.

A huge difference in opinion that highlights the row that has built up over raising the retirement age.

Bernard Thibault, General Secretary of the CGT union said: “It’s clear we’re directly oppposed and this isn’t our fault. It’s the president who’s being intransigent.”

Critics also say the reforms will unfairly penalise some women workers who have taken maternity leave as they will have to stay in jobs well into their sixties to earn full benefits.

But France’s Labour Minister said the country had no other option if it wanted to continue paying retirement benefits.

What is clear, however, is that France cannot afford many days like these. The second 24-hour strike in a month affected transport, schools and other public and private sectors.

The lower house of parliament approved the bill last week but it still has to go through the Senate, which is due to debate the measure next month