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Updated: September 24, 2010 16:52 IST

French govt. firm on pension reform despite strike

AP
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People march during a protest, in Marseille, southern France, on Thursday. Photo: AP.
People march during a protest, in Marseille, southern France, on Thursday. Photo: AP.

French Prime Minister Francois Fillon has pledged to move ahead with a contested pension reform that would raise the retirement age from 60 to 62, despite renewed strikes and protests.

Mr. Fillon says the reform is necessary to save the country’s money—losing retirement system.

He insisted on Friday that the government will not give in to union demands to scrap the reform, saying “governing means knowing how to say no.”

Between one million and three million people took to French streets in nationwide protests on Thursday, and strikes hobbled trains, planes and schools.

The reform passed a vote in the lower house of parliament and is soon to be debated in the Senate.

Mr. Fillon was speaking to members of the governing UMP party in the southwestern city of Biarritz.

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