Pension reforms strike cripples France

Members of labor unions in France have staged a strike in cities across the country against a government plan to reform the pension system.

Workers from four hardline unions staged the walkout on Tuesday in the capital Paris and 180 other towns and cities across the country over a plan that extends the number of years of paying contributions to receive a full pension.

The strike has caused massive delays for passengers as the national rail company reduced its services until Wednesday.

Flights were disrupted and delayed as the walkout also affected air travel that uses French airspace.

The unions condemned the government plan as œanti-youth” due to incremental increases of the total work period, extending from 41.5 years to 43 years by 2035.

The plan also calls for an increase in employee and employer contributions to France’s retirement system.

France is overhauling its debt-ridden pension system in order to save 20 billion euros (USD 26.5 billion) by 2020.

Previous attempts to overhaul the pension system in 1995 and 2010 were also met with massive protests and strikes.

This is while official figures showed that the number of the unemployed people in France rose to above three million in the second quarter of 2013.

In an attempt to lower the country™s huge debt load, the French government has increased taxes and implemented several reforms and spending cuts. However, the measures have proven unproductive since the financial crisis in the eurozone has not been resolved and the euro area is still bogged down in recession.

Europe plunged into a financial crisis in early 2008. The worsening debt crisis has forced the EU governments to adopt harsh austerity measures and tough economic reforms.


Copyright: Press TV