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Strikes raise pressure on French government

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Strikes raise pressure on French government


The latest wave of strikes against French pension reforms has kicked off today with quiet train stations, air and sea ports heralding a miserable time for travellers.

The strike comes the day after parliament passed legislation meaning workers can only draw full pensions if they work until 67.

Unions are hoping for a big response to the strike call.

“I think one should show solidarity, one can debate it at length, but one has to show solidarity with what’s going on.”

“I think people can work another two years, it’s not really dramatic as we’re all living longer,” were two differing commuter’s reactions. Latest opinion polls suggest 70 percent of the French are against President Sarkozy’s pension reforms.

The minimum retirement age is also rising from 60 to 62, but only the better-paid can afford to leave work at that age.

Of more worry for the government is unions are now calling unlimited strikes. Already the main oil terminal in the south has been closed for 16 days, and petrol shortages could start to bite next week. Workers at four out of five Total oil company refineries have already stopped work, reducing supplies to a minimum level.

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