French Senate backs controversial plans to raise the retirement age to 64

France’s Senate voted Thursday to raise the retirement age by two years to 64, as the government moves to overhaul the country’s pensions system in the face of strong opposition from labour unions and nationwide strikes. 

The conservative-dominated legislative body voted in favour of a decisive article to increase the retirement age by 201 votes to 115.  The Senate majority is rushing to meet a deadline of midnight Sunday to finalise the legislation.

Labour unions have vowed to pile pressure on the government by staging protests and strikes. On Wednesday, fuel deliveries, nuclear plants, trains and flights were disrupted for a second day following mass rallies.

French President Macron has put the change at the centre of his political agenda. His government argues that raising the retirement age and stiffening requirements for a full pension is essential to keeping the system from sinking into deficit.

France’s European neighbours have already increased the retirement age to 65 or above.


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