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Anger over PM’s pension plans

Almost no one is happy with plans to increase paying-in periods and social charges; with strikes maintained next month

PENSION changes which will increase the years paying into a state pension and contribution amounts have pleased almost no one.

Following discussions with major unions, Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said he wants the number of contribution years for a full pension to increase from 41.5 to 43, by 2035.

He also plans for small (0.15%) increase to both employers’ and employees’ pension contributions on salaries next year.

From 2020 the paying-in period will be raised by a quarter every three years, Mr Ayrault said. He abandoned the idea of raising the social contribution CSG.

Unions, his own party’s Left-wing, the Opposition and employers’ body Medef all criticised the plans, with several unions saying they will maintain strikes and protests on September 10.

The CGT union said it had not been listened to and the reform was “anti-young people”. They would be penalised by having to work longer, despite the typical length of studies to do “interesting work” having lengthened too.

Medef head Pierre Gattaz called it a “non-reform”, which “resolves none of the structural problems”. “The government just taxes, taxes, taxes,” he said.

Leading Left-wing Socialist Senator Marie-Noëlle Lienemann said in a statement that the 43 years contributions were “not acceptable”.

She said some aspects of the reforms were welcome, including:

• A new scheme for people doing physically exhausting work, whereby employers will pay into a pot to allow them to retire earlier than average

• Apprenticeship years to be included towards pensions

One of the few voices in support was politically moderate union CFDT, which also applauded the above measures. It called the plans “fair” overall, but said it would remain “vigilant” as to how they were put in place.

The leader of Force Ouvrière union, Jean-Claude Mailly, told France Info: “Pressure and the announcement of the action on September 10 have already had an impact on the government, so this day must be a success so we can get them moving some more, notably on the length of paying in.

“I can’t accept that someone aged 40 today will have to work to age 67 before retiring, or leave with a reduced pension.”

Photo: JM Ayrault

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