Retirement : “Universality is a decoy…”

Point-of-view. “By once again bringing one of my stones to the retreat building, I will no doubt provoke various reactions,” acknowledges the former Secretary of State for the Budget.

by Christian Eckert

Christian Eckert, former Secretary of State for the Budget (DR)

The discourse on universality and the points that would put justice and equality in the place of different quarters and different regimes is nonsense: the prevarication and numerous exceptions are day after day undermining the declared principle of an identical regime for all. C.Q.F.D.
I was born in the north of Lorraine, in the land of iron mines. I live in Trieux, a small town where the miners occupied the bottom of their mine (including Christmas Eve) in 1963 for 79 days. They were protesting against their dismissal and the disappearance of their working tools. I was Mayor for 27 years, succeeding the two union leaders of the strike .
Apart from the fact that they too had refused a truce for the holidays, talking about them illustrates my initial point. The miners had a special regime: they were entitled to a pension after 30 years of “deep” work. Many of them had in fact started working very young… Some found them privileged.

Negotiation and dialogue

However, most of them died shortly after the end of their careers because their working conditions were so harsh. And with only a handful of active miners left today, the mines’ pension fund (which still provides pensions mainly to widows!) has been stigmatized for its inevitable deficits.
This example is worth thinking about: The working conditions, life expectancy and demographics of the active and retired population generate extreme heterogeneity between sectors of activity.
The current system has, over time, managed these differences through branch agreements, requiring more or less quarters to take account of situations and adopting a variable calculation of pensions according to categories. Time has obviously changed some of the working conditions and upset demographic balances. Updates are necessary, but through negotiation, dialogue and also by revaluing the salaries of the active population as for teachers.

Accepting differences

Whether we count in points or in quarters, we find the same difficulties: those of attributing “free” quarters (children, military services, hardship, periods of unemployment…) or of improving points (for the same particular cases).
Everyone talks about the service value of the point. This is certainly important. But the conditions for obtaining points is even more essential! By the way, I remind you that only 90% of the contributions would be converted into points… And that the verse about the poor high wage earners who contribute a little bit for nothing, forget to say that this is the case for everyone !!!!

More than the principle of points (which will undoubtedly find the same complex answers as the counting of the quarters…) it is therefore the idea of a respectful management of the trades that should prevail. Contrary to what is put forward by the Government. Accepting differences and erasing them as best as possible by specific rules is undoubtedly more republican than prolonging them by an unjustly simplistic mechanism.