France: No sign of pen­sions deal as unions hold­ing out

Antelope Valley Press - - BUSINESS -

PARIS (AP) — The French gov­ern­ment and la­bor unions ap­peared far from reach­ing any com­pro­mise deal Fri­day in talks over a planned pen­sion over­haul, with strikes and protests grind­ing on.

Prime Min­is­ter Edouard Philippe said Fri­day’s meet­ings with ma­jor unions and em­ploy­ers’ as­so­ci­a­tions “made progress” but ac­knowl­edged there was “still work ahead” in end­ing the im­passe that has seen France’s long­est rail strike in decades.

The ne­go­ti­a­tions fo­cused on two key is­sues: the re­tire­ment age and how to pay for the new pen­sions sys­tem.

But unions re­ject any­thing that doesn’t do away with the plan to raise the full pen­sion el­i­gi­bil­ity age from 62 to 64.

Hun­dreds of thou­sands of pro­test­ers took to the streets na­tion­wide on Thursday to de­nounce the gov­ern­ment’s plans. Hard-left work­ers’ unions want the pen­sions over­haul plan to be scrapped en­tirely.

Philippe Martinez, the head of the CGT union, ex­pressed his “dis­agree­ment” with the plan.

“The more the gov­ern­ment and the min­is­ters in charge of it try to ex­plain their bill, the less the French un­der­stand it, which is a se­ri­ous prob­lem,” he said.

The prime min­is­ter still hopes to find some com­pro­mise with some of the more moder­ate unions, which in his view would weaken the protest move­ment.

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