Unrest in France over plan to raise retirement age

Workers in many French cities took to the streets Thursday to reject proposed pension changes that would push back the retirement age, amid a day of nationwide strikes and protests, according to a report from the Associated Press.

Under the new rules, French workers would have to work longer before receiving a pension — with the nominal retirement age rising from 62 to 64. In a country with an aging population and growing life expectancy where everyone receives a state pension, the French government says the reform is the only way to keep the system solvent.

Unions argue the pension overhaul threatens hard-fought rights and instead propose a tax on the wealthy or more payroll contributions from employers to finance the pension system. Polls suggest most French people also oppose the reform.