French Senate votes to raise retirement age from 62 to 64 amid nationwide strikes
Facing strong opposition from unions, the French Senate voted on Thursday to raise the retirement age by two years to 64, as the government moves to overhaul the country’s pension system.
The conservative-dominated legislature voted in favor of a decisive provision raising the retirement age by 201 votes to 115.
Debate will resume later Thursday on the bill’s controversial amendments.
The Senate majority is racing to complete legislation by a midnight Sunday deadline.
Liberal politicians expressed outrage after the vote.
“Your name will forever be associated with a reform that turned back the clock almost 40 years,” Socialist Mony Rubin told Labor Minister Olivier Dussopout.
Unions have vowed to put pressure on the government by staging protests and strikes.
Fuel deliveries, trains and flights were disrupted for a second day in a row on Wednesday following mass rallies.
The main seaport was also blocked as dockworkers joined a rotating strike in an attempt to persuade President Emmanuel Macron to change the direction of a bill he had championed.
Macron has put change at the center of his political agenda, with his government arguing that raising the retirement age and raising the requirement for full pensions is essential to keep the system from slipping into deficit.
France lags behind most of its European neighbors, which have raised the retirement age to 65 or above.