Strike against French pension reforms fizzles

Strike against French govt plan to plug 20 billion-euro hole in pension system fizzles

Associated Press

PARIS (AP) -- A nationwide strike against the French government's plan to plug a 20-billion-euro hole in the country's pension system has elicited the equivalent of a Gallic shrug.

The strike called by four unions Tuesday against the Socialist government's proposed reform had almost no impact on traffic across France's rail, bus and subway systems or other public services. That's a sharp contrast to the sometimes violent protests that erupted the last time a French government attempted to reform its retirement system.

Demonstrations in Paris and 180 other towns and cities were taking place, but with some moderate unions declining to participate, mobilization withered.

The French plan would gradually extend the number of years employees must pay contributions to claim a full pension, from 41.5 years now to 43 years in 2035.

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