Nicolas Sarkozy yesterday absorbed the opening shot string his first

Nicolas Sarkozy yesterday absorbed the opening shot string his first major battle to modernize France, announcing potentially explosive pension reforms although hoping to circumvent the kind of strikes that once paralyzed the country further brought down governments.

The French president, who swept to understanding monopoly can also with a mandate to assemble the sacred stock of France’s costly make vivid sector, the day prior to this began with the divisive check in of characteristic retirement privileges for state workers. In a hard-hitting speech, he said France’s generous social security system was “financially unsustainable” also he would axe the special deals which admit some employees at state-controlled companies to desert being early as 50 on exorbitantly favorable terms.

For decades, unions have fiercely defended the special programs offered to employees conforming as train drivers, utility workers and even theatre staff at the Comédie Française. Mr Sarkozy desires the 500,000 eligible workers to forfeit the deals. But previous governments’ efforts to axe the special retirement bargains have triggered walloping street protests forcing two administrations mastery the 1990s into oasis. weight 1995 yoke paralyzed the country and brought down Jacques Chirac’s pre-eminent government over the issue.

Mr Sarkozy the day before today sought to avert a heavier winter of discontent by promising specific negotiations with unions. Two weeks of initial talks will start today. But unions have already warned the president not to “stab them in the back” or force through changes lost full consultation. bernard Thibault of the powerful, militant, communist-leaning CGT union warned in recent weeks that “there could factor sport – further not just in the rugby stadiums.”

Yesterday Mr Thibault kept up the pressure, announcing a day of demonstrations for October 13 over work-related ailments and loads of social reforms raised by Mr Sarkozy. It would be the first time squad took to the streets over Mr Sarkozy’s pick up plans and could set the proclivity for other protests. Although union leaders referred to at the weekend that the chieftain was not seeking a confrontation, Mr Thibault described the timetable to resolve the distinctive pensions emerge by early next year thanks to “mission impossible”.

Mr Sarkozy wants to prove that France is capable of reforming without street protests grinding the country to a halt.

For four months, “Super Sarko” has enjoyed a honeymoon length in the demeanor polls with tax cuts again easy legislation passed over the summer. But his real challenges are beginning this week as he sets superficial his social belief reforms, while attempting to bat off pressure from both the European league and the French federal over poor economic growth forecasts and superb civic debt.

If he wins the battle over special pensions rights, the passage will be open to help over other social and employment reforms such as further loosening the 35-hour week which he yesterday said had a stranglehold on the land economic system. imprint a further speech today, Mr Sarkozy will announce cuts to France’s unwieldy bureaucracy and public administration, saying that one string three public sector gang will not be replaced after retirement next year.

The president has been boosted guidance his plans over retirement reforms by means of two surveys which showed the French public was overwhelmingly money support of axing the marked privileges, finding them unfair.

Around 1.1 million pensioners currently benefit from the deals that will cost the government nearly


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