Pensions: right/wrong aspects of reform

History to restore something.

They say : ” our pension system is in jeopardy

FALSE. The elements of language are known: “The system is unbalanced”, “The challenge of this reform is to save our pay-as-you-go system”, “12 billion euro (huge) hole. “. The Pension Orientation Council (COR) has indeed mentioned, in one of the envisioned scenarios, a possible deficit of 12 billion euros in 2027.
As a reminder, the pension budget amounts to 320 billion euros, a hypothetical 12 billion euros lost by 2027 representing only a deficit of 3.7%. In addition, COR also indicated in its report that they can be absorbed over time.
We’re willing to bet that the Minister of Economy and Finance will be happy to declare a deficit this high on France’s budget. It’s 5% in 2022, we don’t hear him calling for fire and predicting the destruction of France.

Two weights, two sizes?

They say : ” there is no other solution but to work more

FALSE. To keep the system in balance, there is another solution. UNSA has developed a number of these: Senior employment rates are one of the areas we should be more incentivized for. Indeed, a 10% increase in the senior employment rate (53.8% in 2020 compared to 60.2% in the eurozone) would solve the financing problem. The definition of an index and the creation of a dedicated company-financed fund remain insufficient. But no measly restrictive measures were imposed on the company …

It is also necessary to regulate the reduction or elimination of the existing fees for companies. There are good and bad aids (which create neither investment nor jobs). We can’t keep bagging employees’ social protection then asking them to work longer hours for compensation! For example, waiver of social fees for overtime = 2 billion less for social security.

Finally, if it proves necessary to complete a balancing of the systems over a number of years, UNSA is open to moderate increases in employer and employee contributions. Given the small amounts involved, this would only represent a few euros per month for each employee, we can bet that employees would prefer to pay a little more than to work another two years.

They say : ” we live longer so we have to work longer hours

FALSE. Life expectancy has actually increased in recent decades, but if we take into account life expectancy in good health, the results are much more mixed.
At birth, a woman can expect to live 65.9 years without disability and 77.9 years without major disability; male, 64.4 years without disability and 73.8 years without severe disability (DREES, 2021).

Moreover, these figures do not show significant social disparities in terms of life expectancy. Workers have a shorter life expectancy, and within this shorter life expectancy, they also have a longer time to live with disabilities. In addition, the poorest 5% of people die on average thirteen years earlier than the richest 5% (INED, 2018).

Additionally, in 2019, 104,300 people retired due to disability, which is 17% of departures (IGAS 2022).

They say : ” France retired too early

FALSE. The insured’s efforts to maintain our pension system have been made. The average retirement age has increased from 60.5 to just over 63 years in 2021, due to previous reforms. It would also be wrong to say that the French are spending more time in retirement than ever before. While the “1950” generation could expect nearly 26 years of retirement, the 1955s were less fortunate, with an expectation of 24 years of retirement.

They say : ” with the reforms, 4 in 10 French people would have left before the age of 64

False advertising
Granted, some won’t leave at 64, but they still have to work much longer hours than today. With the reform, 6 out of 10 French people will work until the age of 64 and will lose their freedom of choice for two years. For others, it’s “better than worse.”

They say : ” in other European countries people work longer hours

TRUE but… Supporters of raising the retirement age often put forward the example of Germany, Italy or Spain, claiming among others that France would be the only one to keep 62 as the legal age. Maintaining only this age criterion implies a very partial and highly biased view of the reality of pension systems in neighboring countries.
Caution, imprecise comparisons: “Comparison of pension systems is a delicate exercise and must be undertaken with care. (…) the parameters described may refer to different realities under the same conditions (age, duration of insurance, full rate, etc.)”. (Cor report, 2020)
As such, the systems are not very comparable, because “in France, the age proposed is the legal age, under which a person has no right to leave, whereas in other countries, it is the age when you can leave at full speed.” (Henri Sterdyniak, OFCE ).

In addition, the disability-free life expectancy for French women is 6 months lower than the European average and for men is 9 months. France ranks only 9th in the EU for disability-free life expectancy at birth. Regarding life expectancy at birth, France is in 2nd place in the EU for women, but only 9th for men.

They don’t say: the proposed reforms are unfair and ineffective

After all they have to… The priority issues of fair and effective pension reform should be increasing the minimum pension, to act for equality between men and women, to establish a systematic “retirement” meeting for all full-time employees from the age of 40, to increase senior employment, to further prevent job wear and tear and taking into account the difficulties of securing a healthy retirement.

With respect to system financing, UNSA reckons that the age measure will result in retirement savings, but will encourage additional spending on unemployment and disability. This is a dogmatic proposal that would exacerbate inequality without improving France’s pension system. Therefore, priority should be placed on maintaining employment for the elderly before the age of 62 and, if necessary, increasing employer and employee contributions. A few euros per month is enough…

They say : ” reforms will take place anyway


The reform presentation scheduled for December 15 was postponed to January 10, then it was formally presented to the Council of Ministers on January 23. The government’s goal is to go into effect in the summer of 2023. By delaying its announcement, it has bought time to unite everyone and hopes to blame opponents of its unjust reforms. It’s also a certain sign of attention from executives, whatever they may say.

All trade union organizations unite. This is the first for ten years. This is a very unjust and punitive sign of reform.
Mobilization will be decisive in pushing back the government.

Inter-union planned national days will be important moments to consider in the debate. But other than that, 80% of the French people do not support this reform. The daily actions in the department (handout of leaflets, information meetings, various and diverse initiatives) must be multiplied and show everyone’s determination.

United and moved, we can win, divided, we must lose

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