Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

AFRICA NEWS

A landslide victory for the 'invisible candidate' in Algeria's Presidential polls

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - 18 April 2014

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - 18 April 2014 (part 2)

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Presidential adviser resigns over "shoe-shine scandal"

Read more

#THE 51%

Breaking stereotypes

Read more

#TECH 24

Galaxy S5 v. HTC One (M8): Which is the right one for you?

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

New PM Manuel Valls outlines priorities

Read more

FASHION

Jean-Marc Loubier, bags and shoes.

Read more

ENCORE!

Hip-hop musician Beat Assailant on mixing the sounds of the city

Read more

  • French journalists abducted in Syria freed

    Read more

  • Le Pen’s National Front fail to woo Britain’s Eurosceptics

    Read more

  • South Korea ferry captain defends decision to delay evacuation

    Read more

  • In pictures: French kite festival takes flight

    Read more

  • VIDEO: Anti-Semitic leaflets in Eastern Ukraine condemned

    Read more

  • In pictures: Good Friday celebrated across the globe

    Read more

  • Bouteflika, the ghost president

    Read more

  • Does Valls’ upcoming Vatican trip violate French secularism?

    Read more

  • Ukraine separatists say ‘not bound’ by Geneva deal

    Read more

  • Abel Ferrara’s hotly awaited DSK film to premiere on web

    Read more

  • Obama signs bill to block controversial Iran diplomat from UN post

    Read more

  • Ukraine: ‘One bloody incident could scupper Geneva deal’

    Read more

  • Astronomers discover Earth-like planet that could support life

    Read more

  • Indian election: Votes for sale

    Read more

  • World honours Garcia Marquez’s magical literary legacy

    Read more

  • In pictures: Iranian woman pardons son’s killer at the gallows

    Read more

  • Algeria's ailing Bouteflika clinches fourth term amid fraud claims

    Read more

  • Top Hollande adviser resigns over conflict of interest accusation

    Read more

  • West African Ebola outbreak caused by new strain of virus

    Read more

  • Mob launches deadly attack on UN shelter for S. Sudan civilians

    Read more

  • Stagehand of God? Maradona's legendary goal inspires a play

    Read more

France

Students join workers in largest pension protests yet

©

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2010-10-13

Students joined workers for a new round of nationwide strikes across France on Tuesday in protest at government plans to overhaul the country's pension system and raise the legal retirement age from 60 to 62.

French students and public sector workers turned out in force on Tuesday as protests against pension reforms intensified across France.
 
Unions said as many as 3.5 million people had taken to the streets across France, while police put the estimate at 1.2 million, the largest turnout in four nationwide
demonstrations over the last five weeks.
 
Rail services, flights and sea ports ran below capacity as the unions kept up their battle. Walkouts reduced flights from Paris's main airports by as much as 50 percent. One in three high-speed TGV trains were running, though international services operated with more frequency.
 
Limited power cuts targeting public buildings were also expected as utility workers joined the strike movement, France's CGT union said in a statement, calling the cuts "symbolic".
 
Youth power
 
Secondary school students in France blocked the entrance to many of their own schools on Tuesday. Their participation has swelled the ranks of the union-led anti-reform movement, which the government has tried to minimize.
 
At midday, France’s interior ministry had identified 357 schools (out of 4302 in France) that had been blocked or significantly disrupted by striking students. The National Union of Secondary School Students (UNL), France’s largest group representing that age group, announced a day of widespread student action.
 
“Sarkozy, you're screwed, the youth is on the street,” hundreds of students chanted in the south-western city of Toulouse, as they joined striking teachers and other state workers who are trying to block Presient Nicolas Sarkozy’s efforts to raise the retirement age.
   
PENSION PROTESTS: THE FIGURES AT NOON
  •  In the western city of Rennes, 22,000 people took to the streets, according to local officials, and 60,000 according to unions, making it the largest demonstration in the city since 2006.
  •  In Marseille, France’s second largest city, police said protesters numbered 24,500, while unions put the figure at 230,000. In the south-eastern city of Grenoble, the rivaling headcounts stood at 14,000 and 72,000 protesters.

 

The government had hoped students would not join the battle over pension reform that has been brewing since May.
 

 

On Tuesday, French Prime Minister Francois Fillon told his party’s lawmakers that it was irresponsible for “the far-left and elements of the Socialist Party” to incite “15 year-olds to join the street protests”, according to AFP.


'No more concessions'
 
Also on Tuesday, Fillon told cabinet ministers the government would make no further concessions to strikers protesting against an increase in the retirement age from 60 to 62.
 
Last week, the proposed bill was amended to add certain exemptions for working mothers, but unions rejected the concessions as inadequate and pressed on with open-ended strikes in several sectors
 
Bernard Thibault, the leader of the CGT, France’s largest union, called attention to the swelling number of people in the streets. “We will continue, the movement is not going to stop because of the senators’ vote,” Thibault told reporters on Tuesday.
 
On Monday, France’s Senate backed a key measure raising the age at which workers can retire with a full pension from 65 to 67.
 
The measure is one of the two main planks of the governmen’t reform package -- the Senate agreed last Friday to raise the minimum retirement age to 62 from 60 -- and means the unpopular bill is closer to becoming law.
 
Across Europe, austerity measures to trim budget deficits have sparked public anger and protests.
 
Sarkozy's flagship pension bill is turning into one of the biggest battles of his presidency, pitting him against powerful unions who crushed a previous attempt to reform pensions in 1995, and weighing on his already low popularity ratings.

Date created : 2010-10-12

  • FRANCE

    At Paris rally, protesters voice their discontent

    Read more

  • FRANCE

    French Senate approves raising retirement age to 62

    Read more

  • FRANCE

    Navigating the strike: a traveller’s survival guide

    Read more

Comments

COMMENT(S)