Poverty forcing French pensioners to go back to work


The number of retired people in France taking up jobs after they have supposedly ended their working lives has doubled in recent years. At least half of them go back to work because they cannot live on their meagre pensions. Rachida El Azzouzi travelled to one French city to meet the pensioners who fear that they may go 'straight from the toolbox to a wooden box in the cemetery'.

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It is 10am and in the centre of Clermont-Ferrand, a city in the centre of France that is home to the tyre manufacturing giant Michelin, 200 protesters are taking part in a trade union-organised demonstration against “austerity”. Most are workers from the tyre company who are showing solidarity with colleagues to the north-west at Joué-les-Tours in the Indre et Loire, where 700 job losses have been announced. But also present are several pensioners who have come to vent their anger at yet more plans to reform the pension system, after the recent changes in 2010 that raised the retirement age from 60 to 62.