French youth protest over higher retirement age | business | Hindustan Times
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French youth protest over higher retirement age

Brandishing “Save our Pensions!” banners, students who haven’t even entered the job market yet are already worried about what happens when they leave it.

business Updated: Jun 28, 2010 22:17 IST

Brandishing “Save our Pensions!” banners, students who haven’t even entered the job market yet are already worried about what happens when they leave it.

Welcome to France, where workers' rights are so deeply entwined into the culture that even teenagers are unsettled about plans to raise the retirement age from 60 to 62, which is still among the lowest in Europe. The reform protest brought nearly a million people out into the streets across the country Thursday. Young people fear they will lose the most from President Nicolas Sarkozy’s pension reforms, which aim to cut France’s ballooning deficit and make the money-losing pension system break even starting in 2018.

In some ways, these protests are also demanding action on jobs. Unemployment in France, at 9.9 percent nationwide, is especially high among young people and seniors.