France fumes against Macron for ramming through pensions reform

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‘He doesn’t listen.’ France fumes against Macron for ramming through pensions reform

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Protests turn violent as government comes under fire.

Things began to turn violent in Paris as some protesters clashed with the police | Nicolas Tucat/AFP via Getty Images

BY GIORGIO LEALI

MARCH 23, 2023 6:20 PM CET

PARIS — Mass protests struck France on Thursday, urging the government to withdraw a controversial pensions overhaul and attacking French President Emmanuel Macron for forcing through the reform in parliament.

Strikes are impacting sectors including public transport, schools, energy plants and refineries. In Paris, protesters started gathering in place de la Bastille — the site where the French revolution started — surrounded by the smoke of grilled sausages and firecrackers, and loud French rap songs.

Later in the afternoon, things began to turn violent in Paris as some protesters clashed with the police.

The demonstrators are protesting not only against the reform — which would raise the retirement age from 62 to 64, and extend contributions to get a full pension — but also against the government’s decision to bypass a parliamentary vote on the text last week amid fears that it would not have enough votes in parliament.

“That set everything on fire,” said Xavier Pacot, a 40-year-old worker in EDF’s nuclear plant in Gravelines, northern France. Pacot said the controversial parliamentary move fueled opposition against the government. “Now even executives are supporting us,” he added.

The protests come a day after Macron dug in to defend his pensions reform and the constitutional maneuver in a TV interview. Pacot watched the interview with his colleagues at the picket line in Gravelines, but he was not satisfied with Macron’s explanations.

Surveys show that he is far from the only one.

According to a poll published Thursday by consultancy Elabe, more than 60 percent of respondents said Macron’s refusal to show any sign of backing down inflamed the situation.

“It’s a mess in the country because of his stubbornness,” said Gregory Lewandowski, 51, an electronic engineer for French industrial champion Thales.

Bypassing the parliamentary vote “added an additional layer to people’s angriness. It shows that he doesn’t listen to his citizens,” he argued. “People are here for different reasons. It’s a general discontent with inflation, work conditions. It risks turning into something bigger.”

During his first term, Macron faced violent protests from the massive Yellow Jackets movement, which lasted for months.

In his interview this week, the French president insisted there was a difference between peaceful “legitimate” protesters and violent actors. He also warned against a January 6 Capitol Hill-style riot. “We won’t tolerate any outburst,” he said.

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Riot police forces walk towards demonstrators surrounded by fireworks during a demonstration | Alain Jocard/AFP via Getty Images

Strikes started across France at the beginning of 2023 and continued this week. Macron’s government survived a no-confidence vote last Monday with only a nine-vote margin, casting doubts on the executive’s ability to keep ruling the country.

In the TV interview, the French president said he regretted that he “failed to convince people” but also said he had no plans to replace current Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne.

Government opponents also include those who are not immediately affected by the reform.

Lou Samson, a high-school student protesting in place de la Bastille with her classmates, said she was fighting “for my parents and for our future” and expected “more violence” if the government does not backpedal.

Carmen Michalak, a 62-year-old former cash manager for nuclear group Orano, won’t be hit by the reform as she has already retired. “When we protest, we don’t only do it for ourselves but for the others. Everyone should have the right to enjoy its third age,” she said, before leaving to join the parade of demonstrators.

https://www.politico.eu/article/france-emmanuel-macron-protest-against-democratic-gap-in-macrons-pensions-reform/


I support the protestors in France. The US should send hundreds of millions of dollars to help these French patriots fighting to save their country from foreign forces and their invasion armies already in place and attacking their country from inside.

 
Macron wants to raise the retirement age from 62 to 64.

I can't help but find this a little amusing. Here in Canada the retirement age has been 65 for as long as I can remember (and I'm 70!). 

There was even talk for a while of raising it to 67!

 
According to the U.S. Social Security Administration:

"The full retirement age is 66 if you were born from 1943 to 1954. The full retirement age increases gradually if you were born from 1955 to 1960 until it reaches 67. For anyone born 1960 or later, full retirement benefits are payable at age 67"

The super millionaires in congress have introduced bills to raise the age to 70 but is have failed to be taken for a vote so far. I think it it inevitable. They have pillaged the fund for their own purposes and loaded the SS rolls with tens of millions of non-citizen immigrants who never contributed one penny to the fund but get full benefits. These vote buying measures were good for the present population but when those paying in to the fund now finally reach 67 or 70 it will be broke.

 
This is how it is now.  I'm thankful that as a woman, I was able to retire at 60.

Apparently it's due to immigration, not exclusively, but also that there is not enough in the government pot to cover the cost. That's what we are told in the UK.  They are trying to reduce that by cutting the years you get a pension before 'you die'. 

I was born in 1948 and have escaped this carnage.

The French are renowned for violent demonstrations, re La Revolution.

 
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I think the French people are thinking that if they protest and threaten guillotine they are going to win.  That was in the past, things are not so simple now, you simply cannot start killing people until you find one president who will do things the way you want, e.g. an easy life.  Life is not easy, it never will be for us, 'the masses'. 

I think the pension age is where it should be now at 60-65, any older and people start to suffer.  It's OK if you have a desk job, you can do that for many more years.  But physical work is a different thing.

If I was working now at 75, I just couldn't do it, I'm not fit enough.  OK, here I am, pontificating about it on here.  But, this is in my own time with no work guidelines or restrictions... very different.

The French government need to think very carefully about this... one size does not fit all!

 
In Switzerland, the “normal” retirement age is 64 for women and 65 for men. This does not mean you have to retire at these ages. You can determine the age that is right for you and choose to retire early, take partial retirement, or postpone retirement. Here are the different options 

Retirement timing
The age at which you choose to retire affects the amount of your AHV pension and your pension fund assets. 

AHV pension
You can draw your AHV pension up to two years earlier or defer it for up to five years. Drawing your pension early reduces pension payments over the course of your life, while deferring it increases them over the course of your life. You remain subject to AHV contributions for the duration of the withdrawal. If you are already 64 or 65 years of age, you will only be required to pay contributions in the event of a deferral if you, as an employee, exceed the CHF 16 800 allowance.
Pension fund assets
The earliest you can draw second pillar (pension fund) benefits is at the age of 58 and at the latest when you turn 70. If you take early retirement, your pension is far lower because you have paid contributions for fewer years and the conversion rate is lower due to the longer period for which benefits are paid. If you retire after your 70th birthday – i.e. postpone your retirement – benefits will increase.

Early retirement
Those who plan to retire early should examine their financial situation closely and would be well advised to create a budget. By doing so, you can determine whether there will be any income gaps as a result of early retirement. If this is the case, you can take measures to close these gaps. Your pension certificate shows whether you have already earned the maximum pension entitlement. If not, you can make voluntary contributions

Deferred retirement
An increasing number of Swiss are working past the normal retirement ages of 64 and 65 for women and men respectively. If you choose to work beyond the normal retirement age as well, you can defer drawing your pension benefits (if your pension fund offers this option). Pension benefits are then only due when you cease to work, and at the latest at the age of 70. The longer the deferral period, the higher your first and second pillar benefits

Partial retirement
You can retire in stages from the age of 58. Most pension funds offer flexible pension models that support this. They are contingent upon a significant reduction in your working hours. For example, if you only work 50% now, you can draw 50% of your pension. Most pension funds allow you to choose between a lump-sum payment and an annuity at each retirement phase,

Normal retirement
Occupational pension provision (2nd pillar) ensures a secure income in old age. You are also insured against disability and death. However, the 1st and 2nd pillars only provide an income amounting to around 60% of your last salary. Depending on your situation, it may be difficult to maintain your accustomed standard of living.

When you draw your pension, you can choose between a one-off lump-sum payment and a lifelong annuity. A combination of the two is also possible.
Before you retire, you can make voluntary payments to Pillars 2 and 3 to fill any financial gaps - and reduce your tax liability.

 
That's very complex Gregorius.  I just remember taking retirement at 60.  It wasn't by choice, I was hoping to carry on working until I was at least 65.  But it was not to be.  We had redundancy at the paint company where I worked... best company I ever worked for.  I lost out against my co worker who had been there for more years.  We came out level on the points system (but I was more savvy with IT - my boss was devastated, he loved all my innovations), I lost out due to the amount of redundancy payment due to us. They had to pay my co worker more.  So, I had to get temp jobs for a few years, apparently I was too old to employ permanently... :LOL: you wouldn't believe the the idiots I have to work with as a temp 🙄

As it turned out my father started with dementia about that time.  So that was it, I moved in with him and spent the next 5-6 years looking after him 24/7 until he died (that's why I have a crippling bad back now).

I've said this to show, there are so many things that happen in your life that are beyond your control.

That's life, it's not easy as I said before.

 
Perfect Gregorius, but humour aside I love it.

It's all about fitness for work, you can't put a number on it, white collar workers can work for many years beyond the blue collar workers capabilities.

 
Perfect Gregorius, but humour aside I love it.

It's all about fitness for work, you can't put a number on it, white collar workers can work for many years beyond the blue collar workers capabilities.
You are right Kath. However, the numbers indicate the age of retirement for workers with similar jobs in some European nations. I don't think French workers have more strenuous activities than their Eueopean counterparts,

 
That's very complex Gregorius.  I just remember taking retirement at 60.  It wasn't by choice, I was hoping to carry on working until I was at least 65.  But it was not to be.  We had redundancy at the paint company where I worked... best company I ever worked for.  I lost out against my co worker who had been there for more years.  We came out level on the points system (but I was more savvy with IT - my boss was devastated, he loved all my innovations), I lost out due to the amount of redundancy payment due to us. They had to pay my co worker more.  So, I had to get temp jobs for a few years, apparently I was too old to employ permanently... :LOL: you wouldn't believe the the idiots I have to work with as a temp 🙄

As it turned out my father started with dementia about that time.  So that was it, I moved in with him and spent the next 5-6 years looking after him 24/7 until he died (that's why I have a crippling bad back now).

I've said this to show, there are so many things that happen in your life that are beyond your control.

That's life, it's not easy as I said before.
Indeed, the Swiss pension system is  complex. The issue is further compounded by the fact that each canton can introduce changes, especially regarding tax savings for voluntary contributions that go into the pension fund supplementing the basic pension.
The current rules will apply until 2030, when they will be revised (I fear that the retirement age will be further increased due to longer life spans).
IIearly retirement is a penalizing option because it provides a cut of about 7 percent for each year of early retirement in the amount of pension the retiree will receive for life.

 
I am fortunate, I get a full state pension every week, plus I have 3 occupational pensions paid monthly, I paid into them all, in the hope that I would have a better pension.  It was a big chunk of my salary for many years, but it's paying me back now.  Those extra pension payments I get have made my life easier now... Just over £200/mth is not a huge amount, but every little helps.

 
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