Los Angeles 10/18/2010 5:07:09 PM
News / Politics

French Lorry Drivers Join Pension Protests

Lorry drivers in France are the latest group to join demonstrations against the government's planned reforms to the pension system. 

They've staged a number of overnight demonstrations, including a "go-slow" on highways near Paris and Lille. 

The French government plans to lift the retirement age to 62 from 60 and the state pension age to 67 from 65. 

French worker unions have called for another day of protests on Tuesday, a day before the Senate will vote on the pension reforms. 

More "go-slow" demonstrations are planned by lorry drivers for the rest of the day. 

Meanwhile, employees at 12 oil refineries in France remained out of work on Monday for the seventh consecutive day, according to union officials. 

"As long as the government won't budge, we won't budge either", said one official.

There were further blockades at fuel depots in the country's west. 

The French government, on the other hand, remains steadfast amid the demonstrations. Prime Minister Francois Fillon told French TV on Sunday, "I won't let the French economy suffer from a supply blockage", while adding, "The right to strike isn't the right to stop access to a fuel depot. That's an illegal action".

Several ministers said that France doesn't face the risk of a fuel shortage, as the country's strategic fuel depots can hold supplies sufficient for up to three moths. 

However, according to a recent opinion poll, over 70% of the French population is in favor of strike action.