Macron’s controversial pension reform takes its place in French law

Key aspects of Emmanuel Macron’s bitterly contested pension reforms came into force on Friday, including the gradual raising of the retirement age and the end to an array of special deals for certain employees in the banking, energy and transport sectors.

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The statutory retirement age will be increased by three months each year from 62 to 64, by 2030.

To obtain a full-rate pension – without a discount – the length of contributions required will also rise  from 42 years or 168 quarters to 172 quarters by 2027 at the rate of one quarter per year.

Workers entering the transport, gas and electricity industries will no longer be able to benefit from special pension schemes allowing them to retire early. Similar offers for new notary clerks and Banque de France staff will also be removed.

Angry response

Macron signed the pension reform into law in April prompting angry reactions from union leaders and opposition MPs. They called for a tidal wave of protests and strikes on 1 May.

The Socialist party leader, Olivier Faure, said that Macron’s move showed disdain towards the protest movement while hard-left MP Francois Ruffin denounced the action as a democratic hold-up.

Macron’s approval ratings plummeted mainly due to his party’s decision to ram the pensions law through parliament without a vote via Article 49.3.

Advocates of the changes say they are necessary to avoid annual pension deficits forecast to hit 13.5 billion euros by 2030, according to government figures. However, polls consistently show that two out of three French people are against working a further two years.

The reform also introduces entitlements such as an increase in the value of small pensions to 100 euros per month for a full career at the minimum wage. Age limits have also been brought in for early retirement for long careers.

In March, as part of the anti-reform protests, refuse collectors went on strike creating mini mountains of rubbish bags in streets around Paris as an estimated 10,000 tons of rubbish piled up on Paris streets.

The movement was suspended after strikers said they could not continue to bear the financial burden of a lengthy walkout.

In June, the government survived a no-confidence vote over the pensions revamp. It was put forward by the Nupes, a coalition of left-wing parties.

However, the motion only received 239 votes out of 577 deputies, far from the 289 majority needed for it to be adopted.

It was the 17th attempt to defeat the government over the reform even though Macron’s centrist party lost its overall majority in the lower-house National Assembly shortly after his re-election last year. Macron’s controversial pension reform takes its place in French law

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