The 30-year battle to reform France’s pension system

France on Thursday prepared for transport disruptions as workers went on strike over President Emmanuel Macron’s plans to raise the legal retirement age from 62 to 64.

Successive left- and right-wing governments have battled the country’s notoriously belligerent unions over how to keep the indebted pension system alive.

AFP sees how they fared:

– 1993: First Reform –

In 1993, the centre-right government of Prime Minister Edouard Balladur increased the length of service required to receive a full private sector pension from 37.5 to 40 years.

The Ballader government also changed the way pensions are calculated so that they are based on the worker’s best 25 years of pay rather than the previous 10 years.

There is little resistance to the plan, which sidesteps the more sensitive public pension issue.

– 1995: Workers’ Rebellion –

In November 1995, France took a stand against center-right Prime Minister Alain Juppe’s attempt to reform public sector pensions, largely by demanding 40 years of work, similar to the private sector. I got eaten.

Trade unions called for a general strike, suspending train and subway services for three weeks. The public largely sided with the strikers and overthrew the government.

– 2003: mass protest –

Eight years later, when center-right Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin announced plans to keep civil servants working for 40 years with full pensions and a gradual shift to the age of 42, more than a million people took to the streets. increase.

Rafarin refused to withdraw and the bill passed Congress after weeks of demonstrations and strikes.

– 2007: Sarkozy Addresses –

Right-wing President Nicolas Sarkozy has also vowed to confront public sector unions once in power and abolish the more lucrative pension schemes enjoyed by civil servants and others.

The train drivers go on strike, but after winning various concessions on how their pensions are calculated, they eventually agree to work the same number of years as everyone else.

– 2010: Age 60 to 62 –

Three years later, President Sarkozy meets greater opposition when he moves to raise the legal retirement age from 60 to 62.

French refineries were shut down during two months of periodic strikes and protests, but resistance waned after parliament adopted a bill.

– 2014: 43 years of contribution –

French socialists are also tackling pension shortfalls after François Hollande came to power, gradually increasing the number of years of contribution required for a full pension to 43 years.

– 2019: Longest rail strike ever –

President Macron’s first attempt to deliver on an election promise to overhaul the pension system sparked the longest strike in the history of the state rail operator SNCF.

President Macron has proposed replacing dozens of separate regimes with a single system and lowering the retirement age for most people to 64. This reform has been frozen during the Covid-19 pandemic.

burs-cb/sjw/lc/smw The 30-year battle to reform France’s pension system

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