Within hours of the government’s announcement of Elizabeth Borneon January 10th, about the measures of the pension reformthe first date was revealed union mobilization against the key provision of the second term of the Emmanuel Macron. Thus, January 19th marks the first day of protests when, for the first time in 12 years, all eight major French unions have come together to take a firm stand against theRaising the retirement age from 62 to 64 years. A first demonstration, which, according to one of their press releases, “is the beginning of a strong mobilization on pensions in the long run”, with the aim of preventing a reform they have defined “brutally”. This despite the fact that it has already been amended since the 2020 bill due to the repealed Pandemicafter hundreds of thousands of protesters took to the streets for almost two months in late 2019 and early 2020.
A second day of protests, scheduled for January 21, had instead been announced by several in early December youth and student organizations. Several left-wing parties joined their call for a joint counter-attack on the reform.
If the right of republican has recognized its demands in the new legal text presented by the government over the tougher one of 2020, which provided for a retirement age of 65, and therefore supports the reform, the left and the national assembly from Marine LePen they announce you “unjust” reform. A verdict shared by the unions, he explains Didier MathisSecretary General of “UNSA Railroad” and employed by SNFC extension, the French state railway company. “This is absolutely not fair reform, I would even say it is unjust reform because those with the most difficult working conditions have the greatest difficulty retiring two years later. Most companies get rid of these people as soon as possible because age affects them the most physical condition. And they are more demanding jobs those who are more difficult to re-hire after being laid off,” he explains.
To date, only a third of French people over 60 have a job. As some researchers also explain how Bruno Palierit is likely that the least skilled and most demanding occupations will suffer the most from the reform. Even considering that the difference between Life expectancy between a worker and a manager it is 6.4 years. Gravity is indeed a Criteria “completely hidden”. from the reform after Mathis and the unions that will take to the streets today. Although the French Prime Minister has stressed that she “wants to take into account the professional usury linked to the methods of practicing certain professions”. Rauch und Spiegel for the trade unionist, who reminds that the fact of carrying heavy loads, which was already excluded from the load criteria in 2017, will not be reintroduced but replaced by one medical examinationwhat the unions oppose. “That’s pretty much the most important criterion. It’s not going to be a doctor’s visit that makes the difference,” he says.
Additionally, some of the most strenuous and precarious jobs often include the jobs performed by Women, they too are among the first categories to be affected by the reform. Today, the pensions to which women are entitled are, on average, 40% lower than those of men. And this miserable gap, which has doubled in comparison to the wage gap, could be further accentuated by the reform it penalizes incomplete and fragmented careersbut also jobs part time, 80% performed by women. For example, one of the new measures highlighted by the Prime Minister was the Reassessment of minimum pensions which will be increased to around 1,200 euros per month from this year. However, this measure will only affect full careers, thereby excluding a large part of the female population.
Another proof of the unfairness of the reform, say the unions, is the executive’s will to do so Abolition of the “big special regulations”ie industry-specific regulations, which are often considered to be particularly onerous and include, for example, a early retirement. Many of them, like the sector of transport Or fromelectricity and gas industrywould be affiliated to the general scheme and would lose their benefits, but only for new hires). At SNCF, where he works Didier Mathisthe special regulation was already abolished in 2020, while the RATP, the company that manages transport in Paris and its region, should disappear with the reform. A sector, transport, which is already facing great difficulties in hiring: “There will be no more hiring. Wages have not increased, making the profession no longer attractive to young people entering the labor market. So far, the low wages have been compensated by the benefits of the special regulation. Since that no longer exists today, it no longer makes sense to come to SNCF,” explains the trade unionist, who started with the railways at the age of 16 and is now leaving with the reform and the increase in the contribution period to 43 by 2027 retired at 60.
“The government tells us that the pension reform will be the mother of reforms. For us it will be the mother of battles‘ he warned during a press conference, Eleanor Schmitta 22-year-old student and national secretary of “The alternative”, an association of student unions. Besides trade unions and political parties, it is also young people who are leading the mobilizations through youth and student organizations. “It is important that young people demonstrate in the meantime, because the reform will affect us later. In this case, increasing the retirement age also leads to an increase in the retirement age youth unemploymentwhen the unemployment rate is already 17.8% among young people. And given that, there are very few employment policies for young people,” says the trade unionist. In February 2022, the Court of Auditors defined the government plan on youth unemployment expensive and ineffective.
In fact, the reform takes place in a context of inflation (by 5.2% in 2022), but also by Crisis in several public servicesespecially in theInstruction and in healthcare. In fact, many should join today’s strike teacher, with an expected turnout of around 70% in primary school. “The entire education system is precarious. The population is vulnerable and the context of this reform is very specific. There were some strikes that we hadn’t seen in a number of years, such as: B. the des refineries‘ Smith recalls. Industry unions last week oil announced a multi-day strike and pressured the government by threatening a similar scenario to that seen between September and October, when the refinery shutdown had caused serious difficulties fuel supply.
For young people, taking part in demonstrations is also a form of “generational solidarity,” says Schmitt. “That doesn’t affect us today, but if we look at the various reforms that have been made over the years, we can be sure that there will be more and if this continues, we will not have pensions.” French government reform would in fact come to five pension reforms initiated in the last thirty years. And there is no shortage of examples of past protests either. 1995 became the “Plan Juppe”named after the Prime Minister at the time Alain Juppe, is being abandoned after three weeks of strikes and demonstrations blocking the country. There, too, demonstrators opposed the abolition of the “special regime”. However, in 2010 under the government of Nicholas Sarkozya reform aimed at moving the retirement age from 60 to 62 was passed despite the protests they are attending 3.5 million people according to the unions. Some of today’s demonstrators are inspired by these examples: “Youth demonstrated back in 2010, and if we look at the discourse at the time, we see that the same project is always proposed to us, namely that people should always work harder and longer than the French. That is why we take inspiration from past demonstrations and know that in some cases the government has even been able to withdraw. Today we think that the youth can be there spark of mobilization and being able to bring Macron back is a necessity,” comments the young trade unionist. Didier Mathis, who took part in the 1995 demonstrations as a young man, is more uncertain: “The context is different and we have to see how many people will demonstrate against the reform.” In any case, the unions are hoping for a “massive” movement, e.g Philip MartinezNumber one in the union ConditionsHe said he expected “millions” of protesters.