French Senate approves raising retirement age
French upper house lawmakers approved on Friday a controversial plan to raise the retirement age, as unions planned open-ended nationwide strikes against the measure.
The Senate definitively adopted the key measure to raise the retirement age from 60 to 62 in a vote on Friday evening.
Other points of the reform, including the raising of the age for a full state pension to 67, remain to be voted on and the Senate's deliberations are due to last until October 15.
The government hopes for the reform to be passed in its entirety by the end of the month.
Unions, which had already called for an open-ended strike in several sectors from Tuesday, said on Friday they will also call a further day of popular protests against pension reform on October 16.
The decision was taken at a meeting of France's eight main unions and will mark the second day of weekend protests against President Nicolas Sarkozy's plan to raise the retirement age.
"Unions' determination to act against this unfair reform remains intact," they said in a statement.
Workers at state rail company SNCF and the Paris public transport system as well as the gas and electricity sectors are all to go on strike on Tuesday, the fourth day of action in just over a month.
Demonstrators took to the streets during two days of protest in September and a third on October 2.
© 2010 AFP