NO ADVERTISING, GOVERNMENT OR CORPORATE FUNDING

  • Latest News
  • Pitch a Story
  • Work with a Journalist
  • Join the Blog Squad
  • Afghanistan
  • Africa
  • Asia
  • Baltimore
  • Canada
  • Egypt
  • Europe
  • Latin America
  • Middle East
  • Russia
  • Economy
  • Environment
  • Health Care
  • Military
  • Occupy
  • Organize This
  • Reality Asserts Itself
  • US Politics


  • 'TWO MILLION' PROTEST IN FRENCH PENSIONS STRIKE


    Channel 4: Unions in France say more than two million people have joined a series of nationwide protests -   September 8, 2010
    Members don't see ads. If you are a member, and you're seeing this appeal, click here


    Share to Facebook Share to Twitter


    I support the Real News Network because of their bravery, integrity, informative and educational - David Pear
    Log in and tell us why you support TRNN

    Transcript

    'TWO MILLION' PROTEST IN FRENCH PENSIONS STRIKEUnions in France say more than two million people have joined a series of nationwide protests against plans to increase the retirement age - but many believe the strikes will not change anything, as Lindsey Hilsum discovers.

    The 24-hour walk-out has caused chaos for rail and air passengers, schools, hospitals and the postal service. Flights in and out of Paris have been hit by 25 per cent, half of rail and underground services were cancelled.

    Union leaders said more people turned out than the previous protest in June, when two million people turned out on the streets.

    It was biggest series of demonstrations since President Nicolas Sarkozy came to power in 2007. Dozens of rallies have already been taking place in many cities across France.

    International Editor Lindsey Hilsum said: "In Marseilles they beat drums and chanted...In Lyon they turned out despite the rain...In Poitiers they protested with vuvuzelas, left over from France's ignominious exit from the World Cup. And in Quimper, striking farmworkers even got a cow onto the streets."

    Bernard Thibault, leader of the other major trade union confederation, the CGT, warned ministers: "If they don't respond and they don't pay heed, there will be a follow-up and nothing is ruled out at this stage."

    The protests were timed to coincide with the introduction of Sarkozy's flagship pensions reform bill to parliament. The planned law would raise the retirement age from 60 to 62.

    The age at which workers would be entitled to a full pension would also rise by two years to 67 - bringing it into line with the rest of Europe.

    But the move is deeply unpopular in France, especially for those working in hard manual jobs.

    Several hundred steelworkers in the northeast walked out at an Arcelor Mittal plant to join the protests.

    Union representative Edouard Martin said: "We work 365 days a year in extreme conditions. Dust and noise means we are wearing ourselves out and going beyond 60 years old will send us to a certain death."

    The latest polls suggest at least two thirds of voters oppose the pensions reforms and support today's protests as President Sarkozy's popularity sinks to a near all-time low.

    His pensions minister, Eric Woerth, has been implicated in a scandal over alleged illegal political donations by France's richest woman, the L'Oreal heiress Liliane Bettencourt.

    Woerth strongly denied the allegations and has refused to resign. But the scandal has served to fuel today's protests - which follow Sarkozy's equally controversial immigration crackdown and the decision to deport thousands of Roma back to Eastern Europe.

    But France's conservative government said it has no alternative to the swingeing public spending cuts: claiming it is the only way to balance the pensions account within the next eight to 10 years and tackle France's considerable public deficit.

    Lindsey Hilsum said: "President Sarkozy says he remains firm, but might compromise with the unions and keep pensionable age lower for those who start work young or do hard manual labour...

    "Opinion polls show two-thirds of voters think it's unfair to rise the retirement age, but they don't believe these strikes will change anything. It's a message to Mr Sarkozy that the French people may have voted him in to bring economic reform, but they resent it nonetheless."


    Comments

    Our automatic spam filter blocks comments with multiple links and multiple users using the same IP address. Please make thoughtful comments with minimal links using only one user name. If you think your comment has been mistakenly removed please email us at contact@therealnews.com

    Comments


    Latest Stories


    Did Iran Take Uranium Shipment Off the Table as a Negotiating Tactic?
    Former IAEA Director: NYT Article a Malicious Attempt to Undermine Iran Negotiations
    The Pain Doesn't Go Away - Rachel Corrie's Parents on Reality Asserts Itself (3/3)
    Are the CO2 Emissions Reduction Targets Enough to Stop Climate Catastrophe?
    Bush, The Iraq War, and Torture: From Assessment to Accountability
    U.S. Policy in Afghanistan Created Hundreds of Little Dictators
    The Fight for Fair Housing for Baltimore Renters
    TRNN Replay: Identity and Collective Denial - Lia Tarachansky on Reality Asserts Itself (1/3)
    The Pain Doesn't Go Away - Rachel Corrie's Parents on Reality Asserts Itself (2/3)
    No End in Sight for America's Longest War
    The Republican Budget vs. The People's Budget
    Baltimore Prosecutor Reviewing Evidence in Death of Activist
    The Global African: Ferguson, Iran, & Urban Development Pt. 2
    Only Appropriate Public Event for Bush is War Crimes Trial
    How Yemen Became the Latest Iranian-Saudi Arabian Proxy War
    Bankers Avoid Jail Time in Tax-Evasion Case
    Bush Administration Official Defends Iraq War at Conference
    The Pain Doesn't Go Away - Rachel Corrie's Parents on Reality Asserts Itself (1/3)
    Saudi Arabia Attacks Yemen, Targeting Houthis
    Nigerians Head to the Polls Amid Rising Tensions
    Greek Public Coffers Expected to Run Dry Next Month
    Resistance Mounts to Stephen Harper's Secret Police Bill
    Why is U.S. Voter Turnout So Low?
    TRNN Replay: The Roots of Nigeria's Chaos
    TRNN Replay: 9/11 not an "Intelligence Failure"
    Regional Banks Say Regulation Costs Too High
    New Bill Threatens Patient Safety
    What is Behind the Collapse of the Centre Left Parties in Europe?
    What is Causing the Rapid Decline of the US Coal Industry?
    Hofstra University Conference Considers Legacy of Second Bush Presidency

    RealNewsNetwork.com, Real News Network, Real News, Real News For Real People, IWT are trademarks and service marks of IWT.TV inc. "The Real News" is the flagship show of IWT and Real News Network.

    All original content on this site is copyright of The Real News Network.  Click here for more

    Problems with this site? Please let us know

    Linux VPS Hosting by Star Dot Hosting