France: French parliament approves reform despite strikes
October 27, 2010
On 26 October, the French parliament approved President Nicolas Sarkozy's pension reform plan, which would raise the minimum retirement age from 60 to 62 and the full retirement age from 65 to 67. In response to these changes, labour unions have announced further strikes, continuing a series of protests since early September. In October, strikes were focused in the oil sector and brought French oil refining and distribution to a virtual standstill. However, with the approval of the bill the strikes seem to have turned a corner, as workers at eight of 12 refineries voted to return to work by 29 October. Finance Minister Christine Lagarde stated that the protests and strikes cost the country between EUR 200 million and EUR 400 million (USD 280 - 560 million) a day. That said, Lagarde added that the protests would not alter the country's economic growth forecast for 2010.