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Sarkozy pension plan passes parliament test

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Sarkozy pension plan passes parliament test

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France’s lower house of parliament on Wednesday approved President Nicolas Sarkozy’s pension bill to raise the retirement age from 60 to 62 by 2018.

The National Assembly passed the bill by 336 votes to 233.

The upper house of parliament, the Senate, approved the final version of the pensions bill on Tuesday.

Sarkozy is expected to sign it into law by mid-November if the Constitutional Court throws out a bid by Socialist deputies to have the bill annulled.

At 18:30 CET on Wednesday, six of the country’s 12 oil refineries remained closed as workers ponder whether to continue their industrial action. The movement has crippled oil distribution across the country, leading to shortages at the pumps and prompting panic buying.

A ninth day of action is set for Thursday when marches are planned in more than 100 French towns and cities. Similar protests are scheduled for November 6.

Bernard Thibault, head of the CGT union, told a French newspaper on Wednesday that his members were determined to continue striking whatever happens in parliament.