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Top France Court OKs Pension Changes


FILE: Dock workers face riot police as they stand in front of a burning barricade next the port of Marseille southern France, Wednesday, March 22, 2023. With the Constitutional Council's approval of most of the pension reforms, unrest may continue.

UPDATED WITH UNION RESPONSE: PARIS - The French constitutional court on Friday approved the key elements of President Emmanuel Macron's controversial pension reform, while rejecting certain parts of the legislation.

PARIS, April 14 (Reuters) - French President Emmanuel Macron's flagship pension reform that triggered weeks of nationwide protests passed a crunch constitutional test on Friday and can now be promulgated in the coming days.

The country's highest court, the Constitutional Council, gave its green light - with just some minor caveats.

The banner reform in the legislation to raise the retirement age from 62 to 64 was validated by the court after almost three months of protests opposing the measure.

The court, however, struck out six measures not seen as fundamental to the essence of the reform and threw out a request filed by the left for a referendum on an alternative pension law that would keep the retirement age at 62.

The Council said the government's actions were in line with the constitution and approved raising the legal retirement age, with only peripheral measures meant to boost employment for older workers struck down on the grounds that they did not belong in this legislation.

French trade unions urged President Emmanuel Macron on Friday not to sign his pensions reform into law in a last-ditch attempt to prevent the retirement age rising to 64.

"Given the massive (public) rejection of this reform, the unions request him solemnly to not promulgate this law, the only way to calm the anger which is being expressed in the country," said a joint statement sent to AFP.

Macron and his government hoped this court decision would discourage further trade union-led protests, which have at times turned violent.

"The country must continue to move forward, work, and face the challenges that await us," Macron said earlier this week.

This report was sourced from Reuters and Agence France-Presse.