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Thursday, September 30, 2010

Current Event: Grève Against Retirement

Once again, France is organizing together to protest the change of 'retrait' this Saturday.  Since the beginning of September there have been several of these protests.. and I didn't have a clue as to what and why so many French people were so irritated.. until today in my Business Class...

Retirement in France
Retirement in this country is done by something they call 'réparation' which basically means the taxes paid by society pay for the retirement.  The issue though is that France has much more older generation (just about to retire) then the younger generation.. this has been causing a huge defecit in the government and thus Sarkozy has decided to propose some changes.

Original Retirement Age
French citizens are allowed to retire after 60 years old and after 40 years of work, all individuals are allowed to retire at 65 years old, and the government will pay a percentage based on the number of years worked.

Special Circumstances for Early Retirement
Called 'regime spéciaux', certain positions allow French citizens to retire at 55 years old.  These people are workers such as, SNCF, or the flight trackers that help land planes.  What's interesting is that even though SNCF is considered an easier job now-  they keep the benefit to retire early because any time it's brought up- they protest.

Sarkozy Proposes...
The French President is proposing to change the retirement qualifications from 60 to 62 years old, must work for about 42 years and you can't retire officially (if less than 42 years worked) until you are 67 years old.

Citizens are Protesting because..?
Work isn't equal
French people realize that not all work is equal, for example, the profession of being a teacher is not as risky as being a construction worker.  Therefore it's not fair for someone of one profession that's harder than another to retire at the same age- especially at 62 or 67... it's dangerous and could be hazardous to the work.
Women in Work
Because many women have children, or even men, the citizens realize that if someone must stay home to raise children, they won't be able to work 42 years in a certain amount of time.  This can cause a lot of problems because then a person can't retire until 67, which again is a very old age (according to the French).. and unfair to those who can't get all 42 years by the time they are 62.

What the Grève Means..
The French people are trying to come to a solution with the government that is fair for everyone.  In France, grèves, or protests, are a common way to hash out a problem with a reform.  Unlike in the United States, the Government respects the people and listens to these grèves very carefully- especially because so many people are involved. (much more than in the United States)..

Now you know about the protest for retirement, and an idea why people in France are so irritated!

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