French cabinet approves pension reform draft bill

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The French government on Tuesday approved the text of a controversial draft law to raise the retirement age from 60 to 62, a centrepiece of President Nicolas Sarkozy's reform agenda.

The bill presented by Labour Minister Eric Woerth was approved at a cabinet meeting and will now pass to parliament, ministers said after the meeting.

The lower house National Assembly is due to vote on the bill in September, and it will then require approval by the Senate. Sarkozy says he hopes for it to be passed by the end of October.

The reform aims to slim France's big budget deficit but labour unions complain that it puts an unfair burden on workers. They staged mass street protests last month and have vowed more action in September.

Talk of raising the retirement age has been taboo in France, where the right to stop working from age 60 has been enshrined since 1982, one of the main legacies of Socialist president Francois Mitterrand.

© 2010 AFP

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