From Mitterrand to Macron, thirty years of explosive pension reforms

From Mitterrand to Macron, thirty years of explosive pension reforms

1983 – the time has come! -François Mitterrand keeps his election promise: He lowers the retirement age from 65 to 60. Did he imagine that this breakthrough would only take ten years? And that it took five major reforms (named after the ministers who carried them out: Balladur, Fillon, Bertrand, Woerth and Touraine) and thirty years of decrees, laws and heated debates to remove the consequences?

From 1993, Balladur tightened the screw by decree

Only ten years after the “retirement at 60” the building is already faltering. And it is a socialist, Michel Rocard, who is sounding the alarm. In a white paper, he points to the unstoppable demographic imbalance. President Chirac’s prime minister, Edouard Balladur, drew the consequences in 1993. In the paralysis of August, he imposed the first major reform by decree: indexation of pensions to inflation, less favorable than to the wages then in force; Calculation of pensions based on the best 25 years (and no longer 10); Extension of the contribution period to 40 years. To reassure the unions, he bailed out unemployment insurance, which was then controlled by the CFDT.

In 1995, his successor Alain Juppé, undoubtedly a less good tactician, failed to bring the special and public service regimes into line with the 40 years of the private sector. Public transport has been completely paralyzed for three weeks, residents of the Ile-de-France have to walk for hours and the roads are blocked by traffic jams. Juppé will step down a few months later. Politicians will learn the lesson and take the necessary steps to pass the reforms that follow.


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