Sarko: 'No Surrender' to Strikers

French prez vows his reforms will not stop
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 20, 2007 4:50 PM CST
French policemen demonstrate in Lille, Northern France, Tuesday Nov. 20, 2007, against the government plans to reform special retirement benefits. Civil servants, from teachers to postal workers, began...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Nicolas Sarkozy, in his first public comments on the matter, said today he will not back down from pension reform in the face of a week-long transit strike, the AP reports. "France needs reforms to meet the challenges imposed on it by the world," he said as he called for transit employees to return to work.

"We will not surrender and we will not retreat," Sarkozy continued, referring to reforms he has instituted. If he prevails, other professions will be less likely to strike as he institutes nationwide labor cost-cutting measures. Public opinion is an important ally for Sarkozy, and it appears to be working in his favor: Some transit workers are already back at work, and poll respondents favor the president's stance.