"If Emmanuel Macron wants to make it his mother of reforms (...) for us it will be the mother of battles", warns the boss of FO Frédéric Souillot, opposed to this reform like all the trade union organizations and the oppositions, except the right more conciliatory.
During a press conference, Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne could, according to several of her interlocutors, propose a postponement of the legal age of departure to 64 years, instead of 62 currently, after having considered 65 years.
This postponement would be associated with an acceleration of the extension of the contribution period, which would increase to 43 years before the 2035 horizon set by the Touraine reform.
The head of state saw Elisabeth Borne on Friday "to make his final decisions", according to the president's entourage.
Without confirming the 64 years, it was stressed from the same source on Sunday that "it would be in accordance with the campaign commitments made by the president the day after the first round", and "aligned with the consultations which have taken place in recent months".
The government would also be ready to raise, during the parliamentary debate, the minimum pension to 1.200 euros for all retirees and not only for new entrants.
On the employment of seniors, an index would be put in place, with the obligation to negotiate an agreement in the event of a lack of communication on this index.
On the arduousness, the Minister of Labor Olivier Dussopt claims to have "responded" to the reformist unions, evoking "reinforced medical monitoring" for "ergonomic risks".
Aurore Bergé, president of the Macronist deputies Renaissance, also calls in Le Parisien for the taking into account of "learning terms" between 16 and 18 years old for "an early departure".
The stumbling block remains the age measurement. More than two thirds of French people (68%) are against the postponement to 64, according to an Ifop-Fiducial poll.
"There will be no deal with the CFDT" in the event of the legal age being postponed and "we will do everything to make the government back down", warns its leader Laurent Berger.
Government spokesman Olivier Véran acknowledges disagreements over "solutions". The CFDT has proposals to raise the employment rate for seniors in order to fill the gap. All the unions defend an increase in employer contributions, a track also mentioned by the High Commissioner for Planning François Bayrou, but dismissed by the executive.
“A very slight increase” in these contributions could “guarantee that there is a fair distribution of efforts”, insisted Sunday with Les Echos Mr. Bayrou, who thinks that “signs” of justice are needed.
The former Minister of Labor (2017-2020) Muriel Pénicaud warns that the employment of seniors, particularly low in France, is "the first subject that must be dealt with".
Elisabeth Borne will be the guest of 20:00 p.m. on France 2 on Tuesday evening, before answering questions from the public on the franceinfo channel.
“Union and political front”
Failing to convince the unions, the government hopes to rally the elected LR, divided on this reform yet close to what the Senate votes each year, with a majority on the right.
LR boss Éric Ciotti says he is ready, in the JDD, to "vote a fair reform" and spread over time, with a starting age raised to 64 in 2032 and a minimum of 1.200 euros including for current retirees .
The Minister Delegate for Public Accounts, Gabriel Attal, hailed the "responsibility" of the Republicans.
An LR vote could avoid the use of 49.3 to have the reform adopted, which should go through an amending social security financing bill.
The text will be examined by the Council of Ministers on January 23 but the unions, which meet on Tuesday evening, plan to mobilize before, while on the left the Nupes holds a meeting on January 10 and 17 and LFI demonstrates on the 21st.
The bill must pass in committee at the National Assembly from January 30, and in the hemicycle on February 6.
The boss of the CGT Philippe Martinez is ironic about the "feat" of the executive which brings the unions together in action for the first time in twelve years.
“The trade union and political front will be totally united in this battle,” LFI coordinator Manuel Bompard promised on BFMTV. And Marine Tondelier, number one of EELV, to launch: "Our sneakers are ready".
Union counter-proposals to fill the gap
In contrast to the postponement of the legal retirement age, which the government should confirm on Tuesday, the unions recommend playing on employment, wages and contributions to make up for future deficits.
If the urgency of a pension reform creates a debate, its content too. For Emmanuel Macron, there is no doubt, "the only lever we have is to work longer", in this case by raising the legal age from 62 to 64 or even 65 years old.
The executive hopes to reduce spending from 18 to 19 billion by 2030, enough to absorb a double-digit deficit and finance some new rights such as an increase in small pensions.
But the unions argue that other sources of funding exist, starting with employment. Official projections attest to this: depending on whether the unemployment rate will be 4,5% (i.e. full employment targeted by the executive) or 7% as today, the deficit will vary from 13,5 to 19,5 billion at the end of the decade.
A better employment rate for seniors would "deal with part of the problem", according to Unsa number two Dominique Corona. By adding to the 56% of 55-64 year olds currently in activity "10% to 15% of additional seniors who work, it is 10 billion who return", affirms the leader of the CFTC Cyril Chabanier.
An objective that the increase in the legal age would make it possible to achieve mechanically but which could also go through more training and better management of career endings, even if it means imposing an "obligation to negotiate" in companies as demanded by the CFDT .
The solution also involves wages, as demonstrated by the unexpected surpluses of the pension system in 2021 and 2022: the rebound of the post-Covid economy, then the surge in inflation, have pulled up wages, so boosted contributions.
To further inflate the manna, the CGT claims "professional equality between women and men", just like Solidaires which ensures that it "would bring 14 billion to the pension funds".
Failing that, or in addition, all the unions defend an increase in employer contributions. An increase "of the order of one point" would thus bring in 7,5 billion, according to Unsa. The CFTC is even ready to "discuss the distribution between the employee and the employer", the same sum can be obtained by taking three euros more from each.
Some organizations are finally eyeing the side of the exemptions enjoyed by companies and which have greatly reduced contributions on low wages.