Nicolas Sarkozy defiant over pensions

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President Nicolas Sarkozy defied French trade unions yesterday, refusing to back down on plans to raise the retirement age despite Tuesday's protests against pension reform.

Mr Sarkozy said he was asking his government to make some changes to the pension reform bill, but the rise in the minimum pensionable age would stay.

"There is no question of going back on this," Mr Sarkozy said. "Working a little longer is the most reasonable path."

Union leaders have warned of an escalation after massive demonstrations against the rise in the minimum retirement age to 62 from 60.