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French Senate Confirms Backing For Pension-Reform Bill

A striking refinery worker, wearing a mask of French President Nicolas Sarkozy, distributes leaflets to drivers during a protest against pension reform at a toll booth near Vienne on October 22.
France's Senate has approved a pension-reform bill that has triggered nationwide protests.

The upper house of parliament voted 177-151 for the last version of a text, which is due to be put to the National Assembly, or lower house, on October 27 for a final vote of approval as well.

The proposed changes will raise the minimum retirement age from 60 to 62.

Meanwhile, students have been marching and rallying in French cities in a bid to boost the movement against pension reform, amid signs it's faltering.

But protest turnout is low and several key strikes have ended, with five of France's 12 oil refineries reopening and Marseille rubbish collectors resuming work.

Union leaders insist the protest is not ending, but "taking different forms."

compiled from agency reports