Watch | Why are the French angry with their government?

Why are the French angry with their government?

A video explaining why France is seeing widespread protests over Emmanuel Macron’s pension reforms.

March 27, 2023 08:30 pm | Updated March 28, 2023 07:58 pm IST

In Paris, there is growing unrest over the government’s decision to change the state pension age from 62 to 64. This means people would have to work longer to get a full state pension.  

French President Emmanual Macron rushed a reform in the Lower House of Parliament to increase the retirement age from 62 to 64 without holding a vote. Protesters in Paris clashed with the police at the Place de la Concorde, near the National Assembly.  

What does the new pension reform seek to do?  

In France, all retirees get a state pension. The pensions are funded by the mandatory payroll taxes paid by those currently working. This means that several generations have been able to retire with an assured pension.  

However, the government argues that as the life expectancy in France increases, so does its ageing population. It implies that there will be more retirees than new people joining the workforce.  

The change in retirement age from the current 62 to 64 means that people will have to work longer or contribute payroll taxes for a greater number of years to get a full state pension.  

For example, those who were born in 1961 and were due to retire this year, will have to work an additional three months in order to get a full pension. And those born in 1968 will have to be 64 and should have completed 43 years of work when they retire.  

However, there are exceptions. Those starting work between the ages of 14 to 19 will be able to seek early retirement, as will public workers engaged in physically or mentally arduous jobs. 

The government also says it will put in place a ‘seniors’ index’ to check if companies are making progress in hiring and training seniors so that they don’t get left out as the retirement age increases. The reform will also put an end to the “special regimes” with different retirement ages and benefits for different categories of workers. This includes rail workers, electricity and gas workers, and central bank staff.  

However, the changes will only apply to new workers in these sectors. Existing workers will still benefit from the special regimes. The minimum retirement age only applies to those who have worked enough years to qualify.  

Why has this made people angry?  

Read more here

Reporting: Diksha Munjal  

Voiceover & Production: Abhinaya Sriram 

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