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Bernard Thibault: “Indispensable Discussion” On Return to Retirement At 60

Translated Wednesday 13 June 2012, by Gene Zbikowski and reviewed by Bill Scoble

On May 14, the general secretary of the CGT trade union confederation said “discussing the terms of application” of the first decree that François Hollande is to publish to allow a return to retirement at age 60 is “indispensable.” He described the measure as “an event in Europe.”

“When the matter in question is a decree that allows a revision of the conditions concerning retirement, in other words, of restoring the right to retire at age 60 for certain categories of French people, a discussion of the terms of application is indispensable. Everyone has spotted certain gray zones (…),” Bernard Thibault said on the RTL TV network.

François Hollande is to consult labor and management and to publish, before the end of June, a decree allowing employees who began working at 18 or 19 to retire at 60, if they have paid in to the retirement fund for 41 years. The nub of the question is to know if three-month periods that have been “validated” (periods of unemployment, sick leave, or maternity leave) will also count, whereas the president-elect has always spoken in terms of three-month periods “when retirement contributions have been paid,” which means periods that have been worked.

Asked if there was disagreement with François Hollande on this point, the leader of the CGT argued for “terms of application that are broader than those that have been announced up to now.” He went on to compare this debut of the Hollande government to an “event in Europe.” “This will be the first time in a very long while that a government has gone back on the vicious cycle of continually raising the legal age for retirement,” he stated.

On the question of increasing the minimum wage, Bernard Thibault stated that “our starting point is a minimum wage of 1700 euros a month (…) and we think that, decently, that’s the minimum.”

“On the part of the government, there’s not only the possibility of a political act simply with regard to the level of the minimum wage, but also, more broadly, with regard to the terms of application (…). There’s also, beyond the level of the minimum wage, the question of establishing more automatic mechanisms,” he stated.

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