Business Pension reform: CFDT, CFTC, Unsa… the reformist unions at...

Pension reform: CFDT, CFTC, Unsa… the reformist unions at the foot of the wall

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After the temporary withdrawal of the pivotal age, make way for the suggestion box. Edouard Philippe's "deal" to the reformists: CFDT, CFTC and Unsa will have to "formulate proposals to put the regime back into balance in 2027". In other words, it is up to them to find the “cocktail” of measures that will make it possible to garner the 12 billion savings expected.

Provided that the employers – who were not applicants – agreed. And provided that these alternative provisions hold water in the eyes of the government. If they fail by the end of April, the Prime Minister has already warned: "I will take my responsibilities". Implied, the pivotal age could then return through the back door, via a prescription, for a gradual implementation from 2022 with the target age of 64 years in 2027.

This Monday, the meetings began. Out of sight, the main players in this give-and-take – reformist unions in the first place and employers – devoted themselves first to their written response to the Prime Minister, sent this Monday evening or Tuesday. The new act of the retirement soap opera must then be played under the aegis of the financial conference, the calendar of which will be determined in the coming days.

The high wages in the viewfinder?

An outstretched hand which is not without risks. This scenario is reminiscent of that of unemployment insurance … Reformers play indeed in this part their credibility, both in the eyes of a slightly disoriented base, opinion and other unions still in the street. The deadlines set by the executive are short and the conditions restrictive: "No reduction in pensions, no increase in the cost of labor", set Philippe in his letter.

The CFDT in mind, will have to "go to practical work", to use Berger's expression. For now, the latter says that it is "too early to specify concrete proposals". Even if it remains elusive, some ideas are already germinating within the central which has defined its red lines. No question of putting on the table – in accordance with a declaration of the office of the central voted unanimously at the end of December – "any parametric measure which would modify the age of departure or the duration of contribution". What is left then? On the table, an increase in contributions or even a transfer of funding while respecting the squaring of the circle: "No increase in the cost of labor".

How? 'Or' What? UNESCO, close to the CFDT, puts forward an idea. It would be a question of reverting to one of the measures in the pensions bill concerning the contributions of executives. Beyond 10,000 euros per month (120,000 euros per year) their contributions must drop from 28% to 2.8%. Or a shortfall of 3 billion per year. It would therefore be a matter of proposing to slightly increase the share of this so-called solidarity contribution (by 2.8%) applied to senior executives, or even to revert to the current rules (a 28% contribution applied up to a ceiling of 324,000 euros). A proposal that would not increase the cost of labor compared to today, and would rally the CFE-CGC.

For Medef, the balance goes through an age measurement

Among the other funding avenues being studied by reformists, some are pushing for the CRDS, supposed to disappear in 2024, to be maintained. It would be a question of perpetuating this compulsory deduction (0.5% of the income of each employee indicated at the bottom of the pay sheet) which is used to reimburse the past social security debt and to allocate it from 2024 to the financing retirements. Since its creation in 1996, this almost painless "tax" has brought in 50 billion.

Finally, another source of funding would consist in reviving the old-age solidarity fund created in 1994 under the Jospin government – for hard times and in anticipation of the fall in the number of contributors – and which has hardly been fed by the following governments.

In the employers' camp, the music is quite different. Medef has made its religion and does not change it: “The financial balance will pass through a measure of age. We will not negotiate a cocktail of measures or even a tiny dose of rising labor costs… Unless this is compensated for, ”warns the entourage of Geoffroy Roux de Bézieux. And to set the record straight: "The ball is more on the side of the CFDT, which wanted this conference and the withdrawal of the pivotal age". At CPME (small and medium-sized enterprises), we also insist on the lack of appetite for this new mess. "Reformers have put themselves in the trap, tackles a spokesperson. For us, there is no other solution than to work longer. "

The CPME will propose to raise the legal age from 62 to 63 years from 2022, with a bonus system. "This would ensure two thirds of the funding sought." To complete the "basket of the bride" the employers' union also recommends a rebalancing of the CSG between the active and the retired. What the government started in 2018 and which earned it the wrath of the elderly.

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