Wednesday, 01 December, 2021

When Macron denounced the hypocrisy of postponing the retirement age


It is an excerpt from a speech by Emmanuel Macron that opponents of the pension reform widely disseminate in the demonstrations. “As long as we have not solved the problem of unemployment in our country, frankly it would be quite hypocritical to shift the legal age. When, today, we are poorly qualified, when we live in a region which is in industrial difficulty, when you yourself are in difficulty, when you have a fractured career, good luck already to reach 62 years old “, declared the President of the Republic, during his major post-Grand debate press conference on April 25, 2019.

Then he added: “So we’re going to say, ‘Now you have to go to 64?’ You don’t know what to do after 55. People tell you: jobs are no longer good for you. That’s the reality. We have to win this fight first before we go and explain to people, “My good friends, work longer.” That would be pretty hypocritical. “

In a few sentences, the Head of State showed how senior unemployment makes the postponement of the retirement age very difficult. And explained why it is urgent to solve this problem if we want to extend the working time before retirement. This did not prevent him from immediately adding that “the point of financial equilibrium of our pension system is around 64 years” and that it would be necessary to “work longer” with “a discount system which encourages to work more but without forcing everyone “who announced the idea of ​​the pivotal age.

Strenuousness criteria removed

It is therefore with this complex roadmap that Muriel Pénicaud, the Minister of Labor, begins on January 14 her discussions with the unions and employers around the employment of seniors and hardship. Objective: to make the extension of working hours as fair as possible and to prevent it from leading to an increase in the number of unemployed or inactive seniors.

The numbers are alarming. “If the unemployment rate for seniors appears relatively low (7.5% for 60-64 year olds), notes a group of statisticians from the Ministry of Labor, it is because it masks a high rate of inactivity: between 59 and 61 years old, more than one in five seniors is inactive without having yet retired, often discouraged after a long and unsuccessful job search or for health reasons. “

Low wages are hit harder by unemployment among seniors than executives. “The difficulties of seniors on the labor market particularly affect employees and workers, whose health has often been affected by hard work,” continue the statisticians. Workers aged 55-64 are thus five times more part-time for health reasons than executives. And the possibilities for early departures for those who have carried out arduous jobs provided for in the 2013 reform have been gradually reduced. While the bill promised that 3.3 million employees would be entitled to it, there were only 870,000 in 2016 and 650,000 in 2017. Before four hardship criteria initially planned – painful postures, heavy loads, vibrations , hazardous chemical agents – be phased out in 2017.

Executives spend three more years in retirement than manual workers

In addition, there are inequalities in life expectancy between managers and workers or between people with low and high incomes. According to INSEE, between the richest 5% and the poorest 5%, the difference in life expectancy reaches nearly thirteen years for men and more than eight years for women. The better-off therefore enjoy their retirement longer than the poorest. Male executives spend an average of twenty-three years in retirement, against twenty years for blue-collar workers. Among women, executives have an average pension of twenty-nine years, against twenty-six years for female workers. Worse, life expectancy without physical disabilities is longer among wealthy people. “In short, for the same period of contribution, executives spend more time in retirement and in good health than workers,” note the statisticians of the Ministry of Labor. An often unrecognized injustice of the pension system.

On October 10, the Court of Auditors also denounced the perverse effects of the shift in the legal retirement age. In a referral to the Prime Minister, the Prime President of the Court of Auditors, Didier Migaud, pointed to the “risk of precariousness for seniors excluded from the labor market” and “the growing cost for solidarity”. The number of unemployed over 50 has tripled since 2008 and the fifties remain on average 673 days unemployed, against 388 days for all unemployed. The lowering of the retirement age to 62 in 2010 has also resulted in new spending on unemployment benefits and social minima. The allowance envelope for the 60-64 year old unemployed at the end of their rights has thus jumped by 75% since 2010 and the amounts of RSA paid to 60-64 year olds have exploded by 157%!

Job center criticized

In passing, the magistrates of the Court of Auditors tackled the Ministry of Labor and Pôle Emploi. “The effects of the decline in retirement ages have been concomitant with the abandonment of almost all of the employment policy devices specifically devoted to seniors,” they deplored. Before criticizing that “Pôle emploi has not defined at the national level specific actions for the benefit of senior job seekers”. Muriel Pénicaud has her work cut out for her.

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Pension reform

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