7 Sep 2010

Wave of strikes and protests across France

9:47 pm on 7 September 2010

Workers in France have begun a day of strikes and demonstrations to protest against the Government's plans to cut jobs and raise the age of retirement from 60 to 62.

Thousands of jobs are expected to go in the public sector, the BBC reports, as the Government tries to reduce the public deficit by nearly $140 billion.

France's largest union, the CGT, said it expected the turnout for the protest marches across the country to be stronger than during the strikes in June, when more than 800,000 people took part in demonstrations.

The strike date coincides with the presentation of the pension reform bill to Parliament.

Under current rules, both men and women in France can retire at 60, providing they have paid social security contributions for 40.5 years - although they are not entitled to a full pension until they are 65.

The government plans to raise the retirement age to 62, the qualification to 41.5 years, and the pension age to 67.