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UPDATE 1-France will soften, not give up pension reform ahead of strikes

UPDATE 1-France will soften, not give up pension reform ahead of strikes

The French government is willing to compromise on its pension reform but will not abandon plans to rebuild a system that allows some workers to retire in their fifties, it said on Wednesday, a week before a planned transport workers' strike.

President Emmanuel Macron was elected in May 2017 on a pledge to overhaul the generous social security system and has promised to introduce a points-based pensions system under which all workers will have the same rights. But as his centrist government is working on a first draft of the pension reform, unions at state-owned rail and metro operators - where some workers can retire in their early fifties - plan a nationwide transport strike on Dec. 5.

"The government is determined to build a universal pension system ... but we will take the time we need to get there," Prime Minister Edouard Philippe told a news conference. He said he favors a compromise between "an immediate and brutal transition" that would make the reforms applicable to people born after 1963, and a "grandfathering" clause that would impact only people entering the labor market from 2025.

France's official retirement age is 62, but it has more than 40 different pension systems, with some allowing workers to retire in their mid- the too late fifties or even their early fifties for Paris subway conductors.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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