News of today's French protests over the raising of the retirement age draws interesting parallels with our pension strife here in the UK.
The coalition government plans to phase out the default retirement age (DRA) by October 2011, and increase the state pension age to 66 too.
The result? A quintessentially British, take-it-on-the-chin-old-chap type reaction. Yes, employers have pointed out scrapping the DRA means they have less control over managing their workforce. Yes, people looking ahead to their retirement have complained about another year before they can draw their pension. But on the whole, it has been quite a reserved affair, and some groups like Age UK have even welcomed the move, saying it prevents age discrimination in the workplace.
Whilst UK employers and future pensioners alike have sighed politely and kept a stiff upper lip about retirement and pension ages, the French are letting rip with a full-blown national protest against reform.
Sarkozy's plan to lift the retirement age to 62 from 60 - bearing in mind that's still well below the European average - has upset the hot-blooded French immeasurably.
Around 450,000 trade union members had already marched around cities across the country, and there will be more protestors joining them at the main rally in Paris today.
Meanwhile strikes have knocked out 50% of the train services in the country, and disrupted flights, schools and universities too.
Short of dusting off the guillotine and bursting into a spontaneous rendition of Les Misérables, the French are doing everything they can to resist this. It's a pretty impressive effort compared to our mild-mannered debate in the broadsheets.
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