13 Oct 2008

French government to stick to plans to reform pensions for overseas territories

6:34 am on 13 October 2008

The French government says it will adhere to its pension reform plans for its overseas territories despite strong opposition in both French

Polynesia and New Caledonia.

This was reaffirmed in Tahiti by the junior minister in charge of

overseas territories, Yves Jego, who has just ended a four-day visit that coincided with a public sector strike in protest at the reforms.

Mr Jego says French Polynesia's 7,000 public sector retirees have nothing to fear from the plans which he says are aimed at curbing excessive entitlements by some in contrast to the low incomes of many local families.

In particular, he plans to do away with annual top-ups of up to 64,000 US dollars which have been drawn by senior French public servants taking up residence in the colonies.

Mr Jego says it's not healthy for French Polynesia to builds its economy on the money of retirees.

Last week, thousands of people, including many of the territory's senior political figures, took to the streets in a protest march and one union has suggested taking prolonged action to block the public

administration.