October 7, 2010 / 12:56 PM / 9 years ago

Air France union calls 24-hr strike for Oct 12

PARIS, Oct 7 (Reuters) - Unions at Air France (AIRF.PA) said on Thursday they would join a 24-hour strike next week in protest at President Nicolas Sarkozy’s plans to raise the minimum retirement age. They called in a statement for the “broadest possible participation” in Tuesday’s stoppage, and said they were considering a call for unlimited strike action.

Workers at the state railways and energy sector have announced open-ended strikes from Oct. 12, adding to the nationwide stoppage and protests already planned that day.

The pension reform, which raises the minimum retirement age to 62 from 60 and the full retirement age to 67 from 65, is aimed at balancing France’s loss-ridden pension system by 2018. Prime Minister Francois Fillon has warned that otherwise the system would bleed 45 billion euros ($62.94 billion) a year by 2020, derailing France’s attempts to pare back its deficit.

France aims to slash its budget deficit to the EU ceiling of 3 percent by 2013, from a forecast of 7.7 percent this year.

Sarkozy’s office announced on Thursday it would make concessions in the reform on the retirement age for mothers of at least three children, with the 3.4 billion euro cost covered by an increase in capital gains tax on property sales. (Reporting by Daniel Flynn; Editing by Mark Heinrich)

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