© Reuters. FILE PHOTO-Police officers clash with protesters as they demonstrate against the French government’s pension reform plan in Paris, France, January 19, 2023. Adrien AdcaZz via REUTERS.
PARIS (Reuters) – President Emmanuel Macron’s plan to reform France’s costly pension system, including raising the retirement age, has infuriated trade unions who are calling for a second day of nationwide strikes on Tuesday.
The unions’ protest movement is a test of Macron’s ability to push through change in his second term.
WHAT’S IN THE PLAN?
* Retirement age pushed back by two years to 64. The change will be gradual, increased by three months per year from September, until 2030.
* From 2027, workers will have to make social security contributions over 43 years rather than 42 years in order to draw a full pension. The additional year was already foreseen in a 2014 reform but Macron is accelerating the pace of transition.
* Guaranteed minimum pension income of not less than 85% of the net minimum wage, or roughly 1,200 euros per month at current levels, for new retirees. After year one of retirement, the pensions of those receiving a minimum income will be indexed to inflation. The government expects to recalibrate upwards the incomes of those already receiving the lowest pensions.
* Public workers in jobs deemed physically or mentally arduous will maintain the right to early retirement, though their retirement age will be increased by the same number of years as the wider labour force.
Police officers, sewer cleaners, prison guards and air traffic controllers are among those currently able to retire at 52.
* The end to a grouping of a dozen so-called ‘special regimes’ with different retirement ages and benefits that currently cover, among others, rail workers, electricity and gas workers and central bank staff.
This change will only apply to new entrants to the labour market. Existing workers in these sectors keep hold of their perks.
However, the ‘special regimes’ covering seafarers and Paris Opera House performers survive.
* A ‘Seniors Index’ modelled on France’s gender equality index and which would measure the progress made by companies vis-a-vis the training and recruitment of seniors.
* Boost the employment rate among 60-64 year-olds. In France, the employment rate in this age category is just 33% compared with 61% in Germany and 69% in Sweden.
* The pensions of the poorest 30% will increase by 2.5%-5%, according to the government.
* Gross savings of 17.7 billion euros per year by 2030.
* Balanced pension budget by 2030. Existing forecasts without any reform show a pension budget deficit of 13.5 billion euros in 2030.
Factbox-Later retirement, income guarantees: What’s in France’s pension reform?