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Strikes in Brittany to protest against pension reform

Demonstrations were organised in Brittany as part of the French protest against government plans to raise the retirement age.

Demonstrations were organised in Brittany as part of the French protest against government plans to raise the retirement age.

A series of strikes and demonstrations were organised during September, October and November 2010 to protest against French government plans to raise the minimum retirement age from 60 to 62 and the full state pension age from 65 to 67.

The government said that because of the ageing population it can no longer afford the current pension system, but the measure has proved unpopular with the French public.

Weeks of industrial action across France were organised by public sector unions; all the main opposition parties were in favour of the strikes.

In Brittany, tens of thousands took to the streets to protest against the pension reform. The strikes led to reduced public transport services and motorway blockages by lorry drivers.

The strikes and ongoing blockade of oil refineries caused fuel shortages in Brittany, which experienced panic-buying at many petrol stations.

An Ifop opinion poll taken in October showed the majority of the French public believed a rise in the pension age was inevitable, however 71% of people decided to support the strikes anyway. The same survey showed that 59% opposed the blockade of roads, business and refineries by strikers.

The strikes have cost the French economy 200 to 400 million Euro per day, according to France's Ministry of Finance.

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