Pension reform strikes hit transport and schools


A mass strike against the government's plans to raise the retirement age is expected to bring hundreds of thousands of protestors into the streets. One union leader claimed as many as one million people could take part in demonstrations planned throughout the day. 


Transport across the capital is disrupted with three in four Metro trains operating and one in two mainline trains running. Fifteen percent of flights will be cancelled and fifty percent of teachers are expected to go on strike.

Last week the government revealed plans to raise the retirement age from 60 to 62 amid efforts to cut France's big budget deficit. The National Assembly will vote on the measure in September.

François Chérèque, the leader of the CFDT union, said the number of protestors could reach as high as two million as employees realise the reform is unjust.

Meanwhile, Air France has announced it will cut its workforce by nearly 4,400 people by March 2010. The job losses will be through voluntary redundancies.

The reduction would represent a cutback of 16.3 percent from the number employed in March 2008 before the global economic downturn.

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