France is rumbling. For weeks now, all newspapers and TV channels are buzzing about Macron's intended pension reform that is scheduled at the Council of Ministers on January 23rd 2023. There are almost daily demonstrations in various cities. Today, January 19, there is a national strike in all sectors with demonstrations in 190 locations, which will be repeated on January 26th and February 6th. All the Police departments, fire brigades and other public services are also laying down work. The country is completely paralysed.
Not coincidentally, Macron is not in the country today. He has boarded a plane with all his ministers for a visit to Barcelona where they will sign a friendship treaty between France and Spain ( with the exception of the labour minister who has declared that there is enough to do in Paris ).
What is all the fuzz about ?
As a social measure, Macron wants to reduce the pension of current pensioners and grant them a lump-sum pension of 1,200 euros gross per month.
That pension, however, is not guaranteed for everyone. All depends on the number of years a person has worked and contributed.
For future pensioners, the provisions are different. They will get a whole lot less.
The minimum pension is calculated in two different ways. Those who have paid contributions for at least 30 years or 120 trimesters can enjoy a basic pension of 684.14 euros gross per month. According to the government draft, this amount will be increased by 25 euros which will bring the total pension to about 710 euros gross per month. Net will obviously be less.
From 01.09.2023, the legal minimum age for retirement will be progressively raised to 63. By 2030, the retirement start date will be set on 64 years. To enjoy a full pension, every citizen must have worked for at least 43 years, or 172 trimesters. All those who started working at the age of 16 will be able to retire at 58. Those who started working between 16 and 18 will be able to draw a pension at 60 and those between 18 and 20 at 60. Other special regimes will be abolished.
The minimum pension for future pensioners will be increased by 100 euro per month if they have worked a full career, i.e. at least 43 years. Those who have worked all their lives at the minimum wage ( SMIC ) will receive 85% of that wage ( net ) as a pension.
Several commentators, including economist Thomas Porcher, accuse Macron of pushing citizens into poverty and driving the pension system towards bankruptcy, while leaving the rich untouched, allowing them to only getting richer. Taxes on their behalf were reportedly, cut by 50 billion last year. Macron is handing out presents to the rich while citizens groan under inflation as well as soaring prices and now also see their guaranteed pensions, for which they have worked and contributed all their lives, go up in smoke.