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French dismiss any pension changes

Poll shows that 60% do not want retirement age to go any higher than 62 years – as fund heads for €20billion deficit

FRENCH people are resolutely opposed to any changes in their pensions – with 60% saying they do not want the retirement age to go above 62 years and 57% rejecting plans to increase the number of qualifying periods.

The information, revealed in a poll by Ifop for Sud-Ouest Dimanche, is a major headache for President Hollande who has promised changes by the end of this year.

Health and Social Affairs Minister Marisol Touraine said on TV that “all French people” would have to make an effort to make the pensions system pay its way. It is due to be €20 billion in the red by 2020 and Hollande has pledged to cut the deficit to zero.

Touraine said everyone would have to share the load but added that the burden would be “rightly shared” and even special schemes for public companies would be affected.

A first move has meant that the automatic indexation of pensions has been trimmed back so that pensioners will see their pensions rising less than inflation. For the next three years pensions will increase by 0.5% for managers and 0.8% for salaried workers although inflation is estimated to be 1.75%.

The move is meant to ensure that older workers are also involved in tackling the pensions deficit; to counter resentment from younger workers fearing a lifetime of paying for other people’s generous pensions.

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