French Rioting in Smaller Numbers

Protests to Pension Reform That has Consequently Become Law                                                                                               

Workers have been demonstrating in the streets of France since September 7, 2010, opposing a pension bill proposed by their president, Nicolas Sarkozy.

            Four years ago, the Congress considered raising the U.S. the retirement age  from sixty-six years old to seventy. But in France, Sarkozy wanted to raise the retiring age from sixty to sixty-two; this spurred a violent reaction from the French. According to CNN news, the number of people on strike throughout all of France reached a peak at 1.1 million on October 19, yet it is notably higher than the 375,000 protesters out on October 30.

            Demonstrators were found all over France, in cities such as Lyon, Paris, and Toulouse. Twelve oil refineries shut down in protest to the reform, resulting in long lines at gas stations. As for public transportation, airports in Paris were shut down. Garbage collectors held a three week long strike in Marseille, causing an accumulation of trash in Marseille.

            Despite these demonstrations, France’s Senate and National Assembly approved the measure. President Sarkozy signed the bill into law on November 10. His government responded to these concerns about the pension reform by saying it was necessary in order to save money.                                                                                                                                                  

   “The French are now ensured that they can count on their retirement and pension levels will be maintained,” Sarkozy added.

            So, French workers are coming to terms with this new law that should protect them.