This content is not available in your region

French pension reform: opponents promise 'battle to the end'

Access to the comments Comments
French pension reform: opponents promise 'battle to the end'
Text size Aa Aa

French MPs are preparing for the final vote on the government’s controversial pension reforms that have sparked fury among millions of workers.

But it appears premature to assume that the widespread industrial unrest will end once the plan to raise the pension age passes the French Assembly.

Opponents intend to ask France’s Constitutional Council to examine the wording of the bill.

The leader of the socialist group in the French Assembly Jean-Marc Ayrault said: “We have always said, and we will say it again today, that we will take this battle to the end. This (going to the Constitutional Council) is part of the political battle.”

The government had to take emergency action last week to alleviate petrol shortages caused by stoppages at refineries and fuel depots.

And though unions say nine out of 11 refineries are still at a standstill there are signs the industrial action is losing steam.

In Marseilles, workers began to clear the streets of thousands of tonnes of rubbish that piled up over two weeks of industrial action. But they warned that easing the strike action does not mean their struggle is over.

One rubbish-collector said: “You can’t work until 65. These guys can’t do it to that age.”

He was asked: “But you’re going back to work without having won anything?”

“For the moment,” he replied. “But it’s not over yet.”

Unions remain unbowed by the progress of the bill through the French parliamentary system. They hope to recreate the protests of last week with two new national days of action, the first of them tomorrow.