The French national assembly has voted to back President Sarkozy’s plan to raise the retirement age from 60 to 62, despite the deep disruption and social unrest it has caused.
The government adopted a special measure to speed the bill through parliament in an attempt to quell the protests that have greeted President Sarkozy’s pension reform plan.
The bill was passed 177 to 153.
Eric Woerth is the country’s employment minister:
“With this vote in the national assembly, as with the Senate vote, reached after more than 50 hours of debate and detailed discussion, we can say democracy has spoken.”
Not everyone agrees and the unions have vowed to continue to rage against the bill.
At the Grandpuits refinery close to Paris picketing workers appeared determined to resist:
“ For us the struggle continues. It’s not because a law has been passed that it will be implemented. We will do everything to avoid that. Other laws have been wiped like that so we will continue fighting until it is removed and then we start again with open negotiations,” said one.
Under orders from the president riot police moved in early Friday to break up the blockade of the refinery and threatened the workers with criminal prosecution if they failed to return to work.
A judge has since described the action of the authorities as illegal.