FRANCE - Transport has largely returned to normal as strikes over pension reforms which effectively paralysed the capital and surrounding regions largely subsided.
Unions however are split over the way forward, with CGT, the country’s largest rail union, officially ending strike action on Friday and expressing a desire to press forward with negotiations.
In a statement, the CGT said “The strikers have clearly shown they reject the reforms of the régimes spéciaux proposed by the government.”
The union added that Xavier Bertrand, France’s minister of labour, was ready to meet with union leaders to discuss the reforms.
The CGT welcomed this development, adding “this meeting must represent a real space for negotiations. The general nature of the reforms must be changed before any negotiations can be entered into.”
However, France’s militant Sud Rail union called the strike a ‘wasted opportunity’ since it did not go far enough and warned that disruptions would continue.
As Global Pensions has reported, President Sarkozy had pressed for wide ranging reforms of the ‘Special Pension Regimes’ (‘régimes spéciaux’) available to public sector workers.
Under the current terms, workers were eligible to retire after 37.5 years as opposed to 40 for other public and private sector workers.
At present, the French economy subsidies the ‘régimes spéciaux’ by around €5bn as worker contributions do not meet fund liabilities.
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