The Senate in France voted today to raise the legal retirement age in 64 out of 62 years as the government pushes for pension reform, which has sparked mass protests and strikes across the country.

The legislature, which is dominated by the conservative party of Republicansvoted in favor of the flagship article 7 of the retirement age reform with 201 votes to 115 against.

Debate on a controversial amendment to the draft law is expected to begin later today.

After the vote leftists politicians expressed their strong opposition.

“Your name will forever be linked to a reform that goes back almost 40 years,” Socialist Monique Leuben told Labor Minister Olivier Dussot.

Unions have pledged to put pressure on the government by holding demonstrations and strikes.

yesterday wednesday over a million French people flooded the streets protesting the rise in pension thresholds with unions in a head-on clash with the French president.

The government hopes that the changes on pensions will be approved by parliament by the end of the month.

But Macron does not have an absolute majority in the National Assembly and will have to win over several dozen conservative MPs or use his constitutional powers to bypass parliament.

France lags behind most of its European neighbors, which have raised the retirement age to 65 or more.