Strikes Over French Pension Reform Begin

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French workers have hit the picket line, refusing to go to work and have shut down many services across the country. They're angry about a government plan to raise the retirement age to address the European country's massive debt. The strikes could go on indefinitely.

Trains sat parked on platforms in and around Paris Tuesday morning, leaving commuters who depend on public transportation in a bind.

"Tomorrow I will have to take the car. I will ask my husband to drop me off, because there is no other way," one woman said.

Others are taking it in stride.

"I took my laptop with me and I will work from home, with internet," one man said.

However, it's not just public transportation. Teachers, mail carriers, and thousands of other French workers have decided to strike, because they oppose plans to raise the retirement age from 60 to 62.

Pension reform has already been approved in the French House. The months-long debate will comes to a head with the French Senate prepared to vote on the measure this week.

Labor unions have threatened open-ended strikes to stop the proposed law dead in its tracks.

"We cannot swallow it. People and workers do not agree," said Jean-Claude Mailly, head of the Force Ouvriere union. "The majority, more than 70 percent of the French men and women are against this reform, so we do not accept it.'"

Yet, the French government - faced with enormous budget deficits and sluggish economic growth - insists it has no choice if it wants to get its financial house in order. The French aren't alone. Other European Union countries, like Britain, are watching the debate closely as they face their own budget and debt issues.

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John Jessup

John Jessup

CBN News Anchor

John Jessup serves as the main news anchor for CBN, a position he assumed after 10 years reporting for the network in Washington, D.C. His work in broadcast news has earned him several awards in reporting, producing, and coordinating elections coverage. Follow John on Twitter @JohnCBNNews and "like" him at