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European Tribune - Comments - Strike day in France

But the current proponents of equality are never heard calling for the docking of higher wages - which are the most obvious inequality around. Pensions system are an element of salary, and one may have chosen to work at the SNCF or RATP knowing that the pension plan would be better, and thus maybe accepting a lower wage. Not many people would accept direct cuts on their monthly wage ; this is no different. And calling train drivers "privileged" in these days of rising inequalities is preposterous ; no train driver earns enough, even with a better retirement compounded, to be the the top centiles of highest French incomes.

So what are the proposed solutions? If inequality is supposedly a problem, it will return again and again and again. I then don't see a problem to get rid of it - which means that if they're going to increase contribution before pension, it will have to come with advantageous wage increases or any other quid pro quo that is 1) fair and 2) equal towards other workers.

If it takes strikes to address a wage increase in return of longer work contribution, would you think that is a desirable compromise?

by Nomad (Bjinse) on Fri Oct 19th, 2007 at 04:31:26 AM EST
Nope. I believe retiring early should be a possibility for everyone. It can be paid for pretty easily with an increase in contributions and maybe a bit of progressivity in pensions redistribution. A social choice, reducing worker's work length, both weekly and during the whole life, can be made and has the support of most French workers.

Oh, and the "inequality" in pensions is financed by higher payments by the SNCF, not by the other workers ; like any wage differential. The privilege meme only gained enough traction because it became a regular cover of the French news magazines a few years ago.

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères

by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Fri Oct 19th, 2007 at 05:43:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Pensions for persons working at other (private) companies are not at stake currently, right? I get the impression you're talking about an overhaul of the pension system for everyone - and how likely is it in the current political climate that your proposal will even be considered? Looks like ideology clash. BTW, I should stress your proposal sounds fine by me, and if there's enough clout for it, why not - but also it sounds like you're upping the scale - because you don't agree with the current pension frame.

linca:

and the "inequality" in pensions is financed by higher payments by the SNCF, not by the other workers ; like any wage differential.

I understand that offset - hence the proposal to couple wage increases with contribution increases. Yet is this, or other compromises, even on the table by the government? If not, do you think such proposals would be forthcoming? In other words: how much is Fillon bluffing?

by Nomad (Bjinse) on Fri Oct 19th, 2007 at 06:46:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
One of the main ideological points of Sarkozy's campaign was to promote work ethics, undo the 35 heures, lengthen work hours. So the government is aiming to make it very hard financially to retire early.

OTOH, some banners put up during the demonstration were asking for 37.5 years of contribution for all, even CGT banners, which hadn't happened during the 1995 and 2003 strikes.

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères

by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Fri Oct 19th, 2007 at 11:42:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I actually think this is a great way to address the "inequality" meme.  Give everyone a better option instead of making everyone's life more difficult.

I find it hard to believe that early retirements can be attacked as being "inefficient" in the same way the shorter workweek has been.  Does anyone really believe that 60 year olds are as productive as 30 year olds in the pure capitalist sense?  

by paving on Tue Oct 23rd, 2007 at 03:13:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
<consensus style=neoliberal>But you have to make peoples' lives harder so they will work harder!</consensus>

We have met the enemy, and it is us — Pogo
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Oct 24th, 2007 at 06:41:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Why neoliberal ?

That's the good old (1830s) liberal prerequisite to have a work market.

See Polanyi and the end of Speenhamland laws...

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères

by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Wed Oct 24th, 2007 at 06:52:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't think working longer is realistic for a couple of these professions. But, I ask the French here: just what does Fillon intend for these people? Non-full retirement benefits for 2.5 years?

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Oct 19th, 2007 at 06:28:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]

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