France approves retirement age rise
France's National Assembly has approved a sweeping retirement reform plan, including a highly contested measure to increase the retirement age from 60 to 62.
The lower house of parliament voted 329-233 to pass the broad retirement package, clearing a crucial first legislative hurdle and sending it on to the Senate for debate starting on October 1.
The vote followed a boisterous overnight session on one of the pillars of conservative President Nicolas Sarkozy's reform agenda, and a prime target of France's powerful unions.
The vote puts France on track to become the latest European Union country to require workers to stay on the job longer because of a deficit-plagued pension system.