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Striking French Workers Jam Marseille Port

Dockers from Marseille block the way to the harbour during a strike to protest against the implementation of harbour reforms and ask for the recognition of the hardship at work, an important factor for pensions, 01 Oct. 2010

Striking dock workers in France have paralyzed the country's main southern port of Marseille.

Officials in Marseille said access to the port, including the key Fos-Lavera oil terminal, was blocked Friday, and the disruptive action was spreading to other ports.

Dock worker unions have called on members to stop work for three days, part of ongoing nationwide strikes over pension reform.

Unions across the country have vowed to tie up transit, air travel and schools nationwide on Saturday and again on Tuesday, October 12.

Last week, police say nearly 1 million people protested across the country.

The protests and strikes are being organized to oppose the French government's plans to increase the minimum retirement age from 60 to 62. The government has said the reform is needed because the pension system is running unacceptable deficits.

France's retirement age is among the lowest in Europe. Opponents of President Nicolas Sarkozy's plan say the reform will not fix the pension issue.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.