pension fight fails French workers

France’s National Assembly has
voted to raise the pension age by two years after weeks of industrial action
across the country.

The bill still faces a legal
challenge before President Nicolas Sarkozy can sign it off next month.

Mr Sarkozy is hoping Wednesday’s
vote will extinguish any further appetite for confrontation.

It is expected that he will be in a
position to sign off the bill, which raises the minimum retirement age from 60
to 62, by the middle of November.

Opinion polls suggest that Mr
Sarkozy’s approval ratings have plummeted to record lows of below 30 per cent,
18 months before the next presidential election.

An Ifop poll taken last week also
suggested that 59 per cent of French people opposed the blockade of refineries,
road junctions and companies by strikers.

The National Assembly, France’s
lower house, voted through the bill on by 336 votes for to 233 against.