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France: Protests Over Pensions Bring Over A Million Onto Boulevards

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http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/sep/07/france-protests-pensions-millions

French protesters furious over the government's proposals to change the pensions system flooded the boulevards of cities from Paris to Marseille today as Nicolas Sarkozy's embattled labour minister presented the reform to a parliament echoing with jeers.

Huge numbers of people – 1.1 million according to the government, 2.7 million according to the leading CGT union – turned out throughout France to demonstrate against plans to raise the retirement age from 60 to 62. There was significant disruption caused to trains, planes and public services as a result of the strike. In the capital alone, the CGT union estimated the number of protesters at 270,000.

"It is about time the government reacts," said Francois Chérèque, leader of the CFDT union, last night, claiming the "massive" turnout had given the protesters moral authority to demand changes to the bill.

In the Assemblée nationale, Eric Woerth, the minister seriously undermined by the scandal surrounding L'Oréal heiress Liliane Bettencourt, hailed the reform as one of "courage and … reason". Fighting to make himself heard above booing from the opposition, he said the proposals were "an essential element of our social pact".

For its opponents, however, the law is an affront to France's traditions of worker rights and generous post-career provision. "The legal [retirement] age of 60 years old is … a question of justice," said Martine Aubry, leader of the Socialist party. She has said she would reinstate the sacrosanct Mitterrand-era retirement age if elected in 2012. "Higher life expectancy has to be taken into account, but not like this," she told Le Parisien.

Pointing to demographic and economic necessity, the government wants to trim the country's budget deficit and avoid a pensions black hole in years to come. France has one of the lowest retirement ages and most generous retirement package of any European country; it also has a £27bn deficit in its state pension fund which could more than double by 2030.

To combat this, the law proposes raising the legal age of retirement to 62 by 2018, raising the age of full pension entitlement from 65 to 67, and extending the period of contributions, employer and employee, from 40.5 years to 41.5 years by 2020.

Sarkozy, whose approval ratings are consistently in the mid-thirties, regards the reform as crucial for France's future financial health, while observers say its passing is crucial to his re-election.

But, after today's turnout, the unions and leftwing opposition will be pushing for concessions. They say that more can be done to ease the burden on people who, for instance, started work in their teens, people – often women – with several different pensions because of disjointed careers, or those toiling in dangerous or strenuous industries.

One employee at a PSA Peugeot Citroen car factory in eastern France told Le Monde his job was exhausting. "I have colleagues who have been here for 40 years. The very idea that they will be made to work two more years makes me mad," he said. "Pushing people to the limit will lead to a greater occurrence of workplace illness, which will serve merely to deepen the hole in the state health service. Where's the logic in that?"

While adamant that there will be no rowing back on the main pillars of the reform, Sarkozy has indicated he is willing to consider tweaking the proposals to placate the unions. Today, in the Assemblée nationale, the opposition drew on the action on the streets to demand the government give in. "Are you going to hear the anger of the people?" asked Lionel Paul, a Communist MP, before members of his party prompted a temporary suspension of parliament by dumping their pension petitions on the desk in front of Francois Fillon, the prime minister.

In remarks to MPs, Fillon goaded the Socialist opposition for having failed to act on the issue while in power and defended the government's "reasonable" choice which, he said, was "indispensable for the financing of French people's pensions".

The latest opinion polls show around two-thirds of French people support today's strike, although opinions are more divided over whether the retirement age should be kept at 60.

Roland Cayrol, a political academic at Sciences Po in Paris, believes the big turnout was about more than just opposition to the pensions changes, to which, he said, many French people had become "resigned". What had brought many onto the streets, he said, was a "big moment of social exasperation. Never in the history of opinion polls have French people been so convinced of social injustice," he said.

Vote yourself wealthy - coming to a town near you - soon.

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http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/sep/07/france-protests-pensions-millions

Vote yourself wealthy - coming to a town near you - soon.

They are just waking up to the fact that they are about to be rimmed by a govt with chille on its lips! bieng french they are doing something about it!

bieng british however we will just...learn to like bieng rimmed!

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it was asked a while ago how on earth does France keep on functioning - or is it simply a nepotistic blackspot with little opportunity for the young and badly connected?

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it was asked a while ago how on earth does France keep on functioning - or is it simply a nepotistic blackspot with little opportunity for the young and badly connected?

I've been predicting the imminent meltdown of France for the last twenty years. Please let me know when you get the answer to that question.

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I've been predicting the imminent meltdown of France for the last twenty years. Please let me know when you get the answer to that question.

would that be the lemon sorbet melting down, or the melt in your mouth duck?

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I would love to be able to retire at 60.

Fred Goodwin can retire at 50.

If a country can find the billions required to bail out the banksters then why can't they do the same to the pensions deficit?

Pay a decent pension and let everyone retire gracefully from the workplace and enjoy their remaining years - even 30 of them.

More jobs available for the younger workers and they can then look forward to their future retirement.

And the more disposable income the the pensioners have, the more gets spent back into the local economy, thereby creating more demand for goods and services.

Gotta be better than billions simply going to pay the bonuses of the banksters?

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I've been predicting the imminent meltdown of France for the last twenty years. Please let me know when you get the answer to that question.

I do beleive we are entering the last bubble...just in time for 2012 it appears....Sovereign debt.

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It's hardly a protest there is no violence = the protest completely ineffective.

Until you see them wielding 5.56mm FAMAS rifles and Milan or EYX anti tank missiles and actually using them they will still be put under the Fiat system.

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I would love to be able to retire at 60.

Fred Goodwin can retire at 50.

If a country can find the billions required to bail out the banksters then why can't they do the same to the pensions deficit?

Pay a decent pension and let everyone retire gracefully from the workplace and enjoy their remaining years - even 30 of them.

More jobs available for the younger workers and they can then look forward to their future retirement.

And the more disposable income the the pensioners have, the more gets spent back into the local economy, thereby creating more demand for goods and services.

Gotta be better than billions simply going to pay the bonuses of the banksters?

Because unlike the French, the Brits just bend over and say give it to me one more time.

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Would you believe they are still on 35 hours per week over there!

And they retire earlier than you, and their pensions are better than yours, and the young can afford houses and they pay less in tax + decent roads, public transport and healhtcare. Why do you think that is?

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And they retire earlier than you, and their pensions are better than yours, and the young can afford houses and they pay less in tax + decent roads, public transport and healhtcare. Why do you think that is?

Unemployment is terrible over there.

MANY earn minimum wage....jobs are often handed to family members...

They are in for a fall...then again...who isnt?

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Unemployment is terrible over there.

MANY earn minimum wage....jobs are often handed to family members...

They are in for a fall...then again...who isnt?

Unemployment is about the same as in the UK, much less if you add in the 5 million the UK doesn't add into the numbers.

The minimum wage in France is 40% higher than the uk

As you say, French living standards, like the rest of the west may well fall, but they will still be higher than those of the UK.

French workers unlike their UK equivalent are not a bunch of surrender monkeys to the excesses of the free market. Here they lock up their dodgy bankers instead of awarding them pensions 50x the average.

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And they retire earlier than you, and their pensions are better than yours, and the young can afford houses and they pay less in tax + decent roads, public transport and healhtcare. Why do you think that is?

I really don't know but genuinely interested to understand why you think there are these differences, whether voting for wealth is what yesterday's protests were about and can they really have any effect?

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Did you seem Jeremy Paxman on the Retirement Debate last night on Newsnight?

He remarked on the French protests. As everyone in the studio was there to debate about what needed to be changed about our retirement policies, it was pretty clear that the idea of retiring at 60 just wasnt a good idea. He used the comment... "What Planet are they On".

What Planet indeed.

We need to pull out of the EU asap, or Mr Frenchie is going to ask us to bail them out. They are already trying it on with the Euro troubles, and are asking us to drop our rebate. We just have to pull up the stumps, go home, and leave them to it. We have too many problems of our own to be giving huge amounts of money so that Greeks can retire at 40.

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I really don't know but genuinely interested to understand why you think there are these differences, whether voting for wealth is what yesterday's protests were about and can they really have any effect?

I do'nt know but what I do know is that the French and the UK have followed radically different economic paths for the past 30 years. I look at the result for the average person and come to the conclusion that the average French worker has had a better deal from the way the French went (European social model) than the way the UK went ( US influenced deregulated labour market). As I said earlier, yes the French living standards will decline as will the rest of the west, but yesterday was about making sure they don't finish up like the Brits.

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I really don't know but genuinely interested to understand why you think there are these differences, whether voting for wealth is what yesterday's protests were about and can they really have any effect?

You can vote to get your dibs on someone else's wealth, it is called Socialism, or more recently, the European Ideal.

Be scared when Frenchies are on the streets, it is their way of dipping Gallic hands into Anglo Saxon pockets.

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Did you seem Jeremy Paxman on the Retirement Debate last night on Newsnight?

He remarked on the French protests. As everyone in the studio was there to debate about what needed to be changed about our retirement policies, it was pretty clear that the idea of retiring at 60 just wasnt a good idea. He used the comment... "What Planet are they On".

What Planet indeed.

We need to pull out of the EU asap, or Mr Frenchie is going to ask us to bail them out. They are already trying it on with the Euro troubles, and are asking us to drop our rebate. We just have to pull up the stumps, go home, and leave them to it. We have too many problems of our own to be giving huge amounts of money so that Greeks can retire at 40.

Might be a good idea. It would shut up the UKIP nutters.

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  • 145 Brexit, House prices and Summer 2020

    1. 1. Including the effects Brexit, where do you think average UK house prices will be relative to now in June 2020?


      • down 5% +
      • down 2.5%
      • Even
      • up 2.5%
      • up 5%



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