Nationwide French protest over right to retire at age 60

Discussion in 'Economics' started by DrPepper, Oct 16, 2010.

  1. I knew about the PIIGS having financial trouble, but was not aware of the problems in France. I guess this is what happens when you cannot simply print money to solve your country's economic problems. Unfortunately, the French insistence upon retiring at age 60 will probably only lead to people calling them lazy:

    Fuel supplies low as French protest pension reform

    By ELAINE GANLEY, Associated Press Writer Elaine Ganley, Associated Press Writer – Sat Oct 16, 3:58 pm ET
    PARIS – Officials have taken the extraordinary step of warning some flights landing at France's main airport to come with enough fuel to get back home, bracing for a possible fuel shortage after a new round of protests Saturday against plans to raise the retirement age to 62.

    Police estimated some 825,000 people marched in cities across France to protest President Nicolas Sarkozy's plan to extend the retirement age to keep pension coffers full. That is fewer than during an Oct. 12 march — and far lower than the union estimate of 3 million. But unions are not relenting in fighting for what the French see as a near-sacred right to retire at 60.

    A sixth round of nationwide protests is scheduled for Tuesday, a day before the Senate votes on the retirement reform, which must still return to both houses due to amendments tacked on during debates.

    "I think the French understand that those who are blocking the country are at the head of the government," Francois Chereque, head of the moderate CFDT union, said on BFM-TV. He later called on the government to "suspend the parliamentary debate."

    Schools, trains, public transport and even garbage collection in Marseille have been blocked by intermittant strikes to pressure Sarkozy to back down. The possibility of a long-term fuel shortage appears to be the most worrisome outcome of the protest movement.

    All 12 of France's fuel-producing refineries have been hit by strikes that started Tuesday and numerous fuel depots are blocked, triggering a run on gas pumps by fearful motorists. In an extraordinary move, police were called in Friday to force three crucial fuel depots to reopen.

    Finance Minister Christine Legarde tried to assuage fears, insisting Saturday that there was no shortage of gasoline.

    "Today, there is no reason, no reason, I repeat, to panic because there is no risk of shortages," she told BFM-TV on Saturday, noting that only 230 of the country's 13,000 gas stations were out of fuel. "There are weeks of reserve."

    The same could not be said for Charles de Gaulle airport, north of Paris, which moved into a Plan B mode to keep planes flying in and out of the European hub while conserving a limited fuel supply.

    The Civil Aviation authority sent out an advisory Friday night to airlines making short- and medium-haul flights to Paris' Charles de Gaulle airport to arrive with enough fuel to get home, spokesman Eric Heraud said Saturday.

    "They must come with a maximum capacity in their fuel tanks," Heraud told The Associated Press by telephone. "Obviously, these instructions apply only to short- and medium-haul flights" of no more than four to five hours because trans-Atlantic flights cannot "double carry" fuel, he said.

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    The pipeline from the Atlantic port city of Le Havre that feeds fuel to Charles de Gaulle airport and the smaller Orly, south of Paris, has been working only intermittently. A fresh flow Saturday extends fuel reserves at Charles de Gaulle until Wednesday, said Heraud.

    "That leaves time for parallel supply means" notably by truck, he said, adding that the four-day grace period was considered good.

    Orly airport has 17 days' worth of available fuel, Heraud said.

    Earlier, the Ecology Ministry had said fuel stocks were good only until Tuesday.

    "I don't say we can't guarantee beyond Tuesday ... we will find other solutions," a ministry spokesman said by phone. He said France had not yet resorted to emergency fuel imports from neighboring Italy or Spain. He could not be identified by name in keeping with ministry policy.

    A sign Saturday at a gas station in Feyzin, near the southeastern city of Lyon, announced a diesel fuel shortage at all pumps, frustrating motorists there and elsewhere.

    "When the government says there will be no shortage, it means there will be a shortage," said Bernard Martin, a 60-year-old retiree who found no fuel at a Carrefour gas station in Ecully, near Lyon. "Since this morning, there is no more diesel fuel."

    Dominique Bussereau, France's transport minister, authorized oil companies to use some reserves after trucking companies complained of difficulties finding fuel.

    Countries across Europe are cutting spending and raising taxes to bring down deficits and debts that hit record levels after the 2008 financial crisis resulted in the worst recession in 70 years. Labor leaders, students and civil servants are fighting back.

    "(These protests are) an attempt to say stop abusing the workers and citizens," Christian Coste, head of the CGT Union at Total's La Mede refinery, told Associated Press Television News on Saturday. "We are not here to bring France to its knees and create a shortage, we are here to make ourselves heard."

    Also Saturday, hundreds of thousands of Italian metal workers and other union members marched past the Colosseum in Rome to demand protection for workers as Italy tries to deal with its own economic woes.

    Workers have been striking for five days straight at the La Mede refinery in southern France.

    The Mediterranean port city of Marseille, where some docks were shut down, grappled with problems that above all perturbed pedestrians: garbage. Uncollected for a fourth day, the stench rose as piles of rubble mounted in the streets. Some people set the messes afire, but firefighters moved in to extinguish the flames.

    Sarkozy's pension reforms — especially raising the retirement age from 60 to 62 — are seen by unions as a betrayal of a basic right. The government has refused to budge on the central issue, and Labor Minister Eric Woerth reiterated Saturday that the government won't change its mind.

    Even at 62, France would have one of the lowest retirement ages in Europe.


    Associated Press Television News in Paris and writer Jean-Marie Godard in Paris contributed to this report
  2. pspr


    It was proposed wrongly. They should have let word leak that it was going to be a jump to age 65. Then after a few weeks of grumbling and riots :)-)) they relent to age 62. Objective accomplished. Everyone is happy because they think they won the barganing.
  3. I guess the French government officials who proposed the bill never took the class Negotiating 101.
  4. Nobody should negotiate with lazy people.
  5. Let's just horrible as it sounds...someone actually has to work at age 61 in France. What would that look like? A 30-40 hour week with 6+ weeks of vacation for the year?
  6. What's happening in France is a clear illustration of the need for more direct democracy... People should have the right to vote directly on issues that concern them. Because at the end it's them that are left to handle the consequences of the decisions, may they be taken by themselves or by their representatives.

    Live to work or work to Live ?

    Having to take the street to manifest an opinion is soo oldschool ^^

    The funniest part is when people will say that it's not safe... lol, electronic market trade billions per sec ^^
  7. Why are students helping them it is them who will have to pay for it. Are they that stupid?
  8. [​IMG]

    What's not to like. :D
  9. I would agree with this idea, except that I grew up in California, where the referendum process has greatly contributed to screwing up that state. There are simply too many voters who don't want to do the homework required for direct voting, instead relying on misleading slogans, propaganda and sound-bites.

    One idea that I've thought about is to remove the vote from the House of Representatives. It would instead be populated by citizens selected via random draw. There should be some type of classroom/testing requirement to be eligible to participate. The benefit here would be that no campaigns would occur, thus no campaign contributions would be required.

    Of course, the wealthy at the top of our food chain will never allow the inmates to run the asylum.
  10. sumfuka


    Sadly, I think so. :D
    #10     Oct 24, 2010