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France won't back down on reforms, prime minister says

By the CNN Wire Staff
People march in Paris as part of a one-day national action against the government's retirement reform bill, September 23, 2010.
People march in Paris as part of a one-day national action against the government's retirement reform bill, September 23, 2010.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Francois Fillon says the reforms are 'necessary and reasonable'
  • Trade unions have been protesting the reforms
  • Unions announce two more strikes in October
RELATED TOPICS
  • France
  • Nicolas Sarkozy

Paris, France (CNN) -- The French government will not stop its plans to reform the pension system, the French prime minister said Friday, a day after nationwide strikes against the measures.

"No, we are not going to withdraw the reform, because it is necessary and reasonable," Prime Minister Francois Fillon told members of President Nicolas Sarkozy's UMP party.

France's eight leading trade unions Thursday staged their second day of strikes this month to protest the reforms, which include raising the retirement age from 60 to 62.

Sarkozy says the change is needed because rising life expectancy increases the financial burden on the pension system. The bill must still pass the Senate to become law.

Trade unions said Friday they plan to demonstrate against the reforms twice next month.

CNN's Saskya Vandoorne contributed to this report.