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ORIGINAL FRENCH ARTICLE: Une baisse des pensions jusqu’à 40%

by Y.H.

Pensions to be cut by up to 40%

Translated Monday 1 February 2010, by Gene Zbikowski and reviewed by Henry Crapo

The trade unions are warning against a change in the system which conceals a decision to reduce retirement pensions. They underline the need to reform the system of financing pensions.

Whereas some trade unions have proved to be more open on the subject and, like the CFDT, persist moreover in wanting to discuss “all of the subjects relative to retirement, including questions regarding the structure of the system,” as a whole, in their reactions to the report of the Orientation Council on Retirement (COR), the trade unions pointed out that a change in the system of retirement will not solve the number one problem, which is financing.

The COR study “shows that a systemic reform aiming in particular at transposing the Swedish model to France would lead to a significant reduction in retirement pensions,” notes the CGT. FO repeated its “opposition” to a systemic reform based on notional accounts or points, which, according to the COR’s projections, could lead to a “40%” reduction in retirement pensions “over a 40-year period.” The FSU teachers union points out that “retirement plans based on annuities, as they exist today, have, despite their diversity, a common objective which is perfectly clear: ensuring a replacement income when a person stops working,” and that the other systems that are envisaged are “cleared of any obligation” on this point. Attac, after having described a change in the retirement system as “catastrophic,” insists on the fact that the retirement question “will not be solved so long as the root of the problem is not addressed: the basic division between income paid to Labor (including retirement) and income paid to Capital, which is itself linked to employment and the period of labor.” This is a reality which is “concealed,” as the FSU points out, by the debates on systemic reform and the increase in the legal retirement age which, in reality, “is a decision to lower retirement pensions without assuming the political consequences.”

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