French unions ‘battle cry’ continues

French unions have called two more
national days of action to protest at the government’s pension reforms.

They announced the dates of 28
October and 2 November.

Separately, rolling strikes are
continuing against government plans to raise the pension age from 60 to 62.

The pension reforms bill is set to
be speeded up to make sure a vote takes place today, Friday, a parliamentary
source said.

The lower house has already
approved the bill, which aims to raise the retirement age from 60 to 62 and the
full state pension age from 65 to 67.

Union leaders fear they may lose
momentum because of the national holiday of All Saints’ Day on 1 November. The
schools will be out and many salaried workers away from 23 October to 4

President Sarkozy has called for an
end to the disruption.

“By taking hostage the
economy, companies and the daily lives of French people, we are going to destroy
jobs,” he said on Thursday.

Lionel Guerin, head of the National
Federation of Commercial Aviation, said the strikes had now cost airlines more
than the Icelandic volcano eruption in the spring.

In the southern port city of
Marseille, public transport is on strike and the ports have been blockaded.

Several tonnes of rubbish have
piled up since collectors went on strike on 12 October.

About a quarter of France’s service
stations have run out of fuel and strikes have also stopped work at two of
France’s three liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals.


A man holds a placard which reads “Listen to the public’s rage” during a demonstration in front of the French Senate in Paris.
Photo: Yahoo News