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French fatigue dulls pension protest

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French fatigue dulls pension protest


France is being hit by a seventh national day of strikes against controversial pension reforms.

But now that the bill has been voted through parliament there are signs that the campaign against raising the pension age is fading.

Action by railway workers cut some services in half but high-speed services were less disrupted than on previous strike days.

Flights have been cut by up to 50 per cent because of an air-traffic controllers stoppage.

But a fuel crisis has eased as many refinery workers voted to return to work.

Even one of the main French unions acknowledged a certain strike-fatigue.

The Force Ouvriere leader Jean-Claude Mailly said: “Even though it’s passed parliament, workers are still saying ‘no – we don’t agree’. Let’s be clear that today we won’t get more than 3 million demonstrators. It’s holiday time, and it’s obvious there’s a bit of fatigue. But even so the issue still sticks in your throat.”

Despite the robust public opposition to this cornerstone of the French president’s reforms, the plan to make employees work two years more to get their pensions has only to clear the constitutional council before Nicolas Sarkozy can sign it into law.

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