a government looking down the street – EURACTIV.com

Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne will meet with social partners on Tuesday and Wednesday before presenting the pension reform bill to the Council of Ministers on January 10. Unions lament the lack of any real consultation with the executive and are ready to hit the pavements.

Quite regularly, the prime minister and even the president met me and explained my demands. They listened to me very politely and with great attention. Then I left their office and everything I told them was forgotten.”

François Hommeril, long-time president of the French Confederation of Managers – Confederation of General Managers (CFE/CGC), is no longer cutting corners to criticize the nature of the consultation between the government and the social partners ahead of the pension reform. .

The unions were listened to with a very scattered ear, but the text of the law was already written. I expect nothing from meeting Elisabeth Borne “, he lamented to EURACTIV that nothing was done by the executive to try to find him. social consensus “.

Finance, finance, finance

Trade unions and employers’ organizations are expected to be held in Matignon on Tuesday (January 3) and Wednesday (January 4) ahead of the presentation of the reform bill to the Council of Ministers on January 10. The government had already postponed the filing date originally scheduled for December 15.

If the bill is irritating, no one is surprised. At the time, President Emmanuel Macron, who was running for re-election in early 2022, promised to raise the retirement age. During his vows to the French, he repeated a wish: ” This year [2023] will be pension reform aimed at balancing our system for years and decades to come. “. The reform should see the light of day this summer.

Everything is based on the annual report of the Board of Retirement Orientation (COR) dated September 2022, the analysis and interpretation of which is ambiguous. If he says that there will be a pension system” deficit on average The longer-term picture over the next 25 years is less clear, the report claims, “ Between 2032 and 2070, despite the gradual aging of the French population, the share of pension costs in national wealth will be stable or decline. “.

The problem of financing pensions in the medium-term perspective has been identified: “pto be in debt to pay pensions is therefore to burden future generations with a debt that has no equivalent in terms of public assets. “, analyzed the specialized blog fipaddict last may

Therefore, the government preferred to increase the legal retirement age instead of going through the debt: ” if we do not want to reduce pensions, we must gradually increase the duration of working time “, Mrs. Borne beat again on Tuesday France information. It is open to negotiations to set this age at 65 or 64, including an increase in contributions, the terms of which have not yet been determined.

Unfair reform

Unions don’t hear it with the same ears. They all agree in highlighting the unfairness of the reform, which they say should penalize lower-skilled workers who entered the labor market earlier and have lower life expectancies, forced to work harder to benefit from the full rate. .

The fear of a general decline in the standard of living of pensioners is also significant, COR itself believes that the average standard of living of pensioners is doomed to decline: from 75.5% to 87.2% of the income of working people by 2070. In 2019, it was 101.5%

Finally, the government is accused of filling loopholes in the racket and saving money on the backs of workers, while raising the legal retirement age is the fastest way to raise revenue. The prime minister openly denies it, confirms it ” every effort will be used to fund pensions, nothing else.

The government is stuck on the legal driving age totem pole The president of the French Confederation of Christian Workers (CFTC) regrets Cyril Chabanier. ” He listens to us, but our suggestions are actively rejected “.

From the early hours of reform, the CFTC stressed the need for a “mix of solutions” combining increasing pension contributions and eliminating certain exemption systems from employer contributions before arriving at a universal points system. A reform championed by former Pensions High Commissioner Jean-Paul Delevoye, which saw unions split and strikes dealt with in 2019 at length.

We find ourselves in the main issue facing a state that is not ready to give up an inch of land “, says Mr Hommeril, for whom any attempt at compromise with the executive is doomed to failure. According to the CFE/CGC, the priority lies elsewhere: creating a better distribution of value and raising wages.

Under the paving stones, inter-union

So are all the other unions, which have unanimously condemned the reform. General Confederation of Labor (CGT) ” social regression While the Confederation of French Democratic Labor (CFDT). still opposes raising the legal retirement age 53% of the French do not not sure According to a Harris Interactive survey for RTL published on Monday (January 2), the priority of reforms.

The broader context isn’t rosy: In addition to pension reform, there’s the much-talked-about unemployment insurance reform, where the draft decree adds a new round of bye to the compensation period if the national unemployment rate falls. It fell below the 6% mark, surprising the trade unions. This offer has since been withdrawn.

Finally, inflation is at an all-time high, while purchasing power worries 72% of French people, according to a Harris Interactive poll.

Macron wants it to clash and hopes unions will struggle to mobilize because the topic is boring and it’s hard to motivate crowds in January. », a trade union official told EURACTIV on condition of anonymity. ” We have almost no hope in these consultations, we are ready to go to the streets “.

In fact, pounding the pavement seems like the last possible option: “ in the absence of any negotiations, a state-created conflict arises from scratch “Mr Hommeril says. Its members mobilized more than ever “.

However, it’s the same story with the CFTC, a wannabe reformer and the last resort to take to the streets: ” mobilization is being prepared “.

See you on January 10.

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