Strikers rally over pension reforms in France

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The Independent Online

Thousands of striking workers marched in protest yesterday at plans to raise the minimum retirement age from 60.

President Nicolas Sarkozy's government reportedly wants to raise the retirement age by between one and three years, and to extend the required pension contribution period, as part of his attempt to reform the costly state pension system.

Unions said the rallies were the first step in a struggle to defend workers' rights. Up to 20 per cent of public-sector employees went out on strike.