The following is an unofficial translation of the article “Réforme des retraites : le malus lié à l’âge pivot s’appliquera tout au long de la retraite!” from revolutionary newspaper La Cause du Peuple. Since its publication, the French Minister for Pension Reform, Jean-Paul Delevoye, has resigned due to a failure to publicly disclose 13 other posts, which are potential conflicts of interest. Strikes and mass protests against the pension reform are approaching their third week, as trade unions and other workers show no signs of letting up.
Translation by Kate LaBelle
The government spokesperson, Sibeth Ndiaye, confirmed on Twitter that the penalty stemming from an early retirement before the fixed age of 64 will apply throughout a person’s whole retirement.
Since Edouard Philippe’s presentation on the infamous pension reform last Wednesday December 11, questions remained regarding the concrete application of the fixed retirement age. In effect, the government announced that the legal age of retirement would stay at 62 years, but that a fixed age would stay at 64 years, which means that workers who would like to retire at 62 years could do so, but they’ll see their pension cut by a portion of its total. During the presentation of the project, Edouard Philippe did not specify if these cuts of the retirement pensions would apply throughout the whole retirement, and therefore until the death of the retiree, or simply until the retiree reaches the age of 64. The government spokesperson clarified things by specifying that it is indeed the worse of the two options that was kept by the government: the penalty stemming from an early retirement before the fixed age of 64 would last until the death of the person suffering this penalty, and not only until the person reaches the age of 64.
The fixed age is already in itself something scandalous because it aims to force workers to allow themselves to be exploited even longer to make savings on pensions. This measure is particularly violent for workers who, by the age of 40, have a life expectancy seven years shorter than that of a manager, and who are being obligated to work until 64 years of age before being able to leave work at the full rate. The managers, with their high salaries, will have the possibility throughout their careers of putting money aside and will be able to therefore allow themselves to leave early and take the pension cut by 10%.
Being that those over 50 will be over-represented among the victims of work accidents, being that it is already very difficult for an unemployed worker to find a new job while being over 50 years old, being that it is also dangerous for workers as it is for customers and clients to allow older people to continue to perform jobs like bus driver, train conductor, or other similar positions, the fixed age constitutes a real crime against the working class.
The only way to take back pensions from these infamous reforms is to amplify the strike movement, and to force Macron and his government who are working to serve employers, to withdraw these reforms.