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ArchGuy1
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Strikes in France Last Week

Tue Dec 24, 2019 2:42 am

Last Monday, strikes took place in France including Paris over the government's plan to raise the retirement age to 64. Plans are underway to create a universal pension system for workers in the country. The Eiffel Tower was closed after staff there walked off the job and commuters faced hours long delays in the train network as train drivers refused to go to work. Hospitals had to requisition workers for essential services as health care workers went on strike. Electricity was cut by union activists to nearly 100,000 homes and offices. Opera performers and Air France staff in uniforms were among the workers that joined the strikes. These protests have caused unnecessary headaches for tourists, commuters, and even people with medical emergencies and raising the retirement age is necessary as life expectancy increases and the cost of government welfare increases.
https://www.foxnews.com/world/frances-m ... wer-closed
 
seat64k
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Re: Strikes in France Last Week

Tue Dec 24, 2019 7:18 am

This is one issue that all countries are going to have to deal with as soon as possible. The difference in life expectancy, and health in older age, is dramatic between the last two generations. People my age, if retiring at the usual 65-ish, will be much more likely to have as many years in retirement as we had in the workforce. Kids entering the workforce now will likely live longer, i.e. have a longer retirement than their careers are.

If we don't start mandating significantly higher levels of retirement savings, more and more people are going to have no choice but to work for longer. My parents, despite contributing the suggested amounts their entire working careers, are both facing this reality, while both facing health issues that are likely to disable them in the near future, but unlikely to shorten their life expectancy. This means I'm in a position where I have to plan for my own retirement and take of two (divorced) parents who will likely depend on me for the next 2-3 decades. Which ultimately means I might very will have to work well past the usual retirement age despite saving aggressively.
 
anrec80
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Re: Strikes in France Last Week

Tue Dec 24, 2019 7:55 am

This is, unfortunately, inevitable. Too many negative factors are in play at the same time. Declining birth rates since 1960s (and even faster lately), increases in life expectancy, trend of replacement of full time jobs with freelance gigs, no income growth - contribute to not only aging population, but to declines in pension funds contributions to fund pension benefits. Western societies have to brace. And still French have one of the sweetest deals at 64, while pretty much anywhere else in developed world it's 67 or around 67. Really no reason to complain.
 
anrec80
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Re: Strikes in France Last Week

Tue Dec 24, 2019 7:59 am

seat64k wrote:
If we don't start mandating significantly higher levels of retirement savings, more and more people are going to have no choice but to work for longer. My parents, despite contributing the suggested amounts their entire working careers, are both facing this reality, while both facing health issues that are likely to disable them in the near future, but unlikely to shorten their life expectancy. This means I'm in a position where I have to plan for my own retirement and take of two (divorced) parents who will likely depend on me for the next 2-3 decades. Which ultimately means I might very will have to work well past the usual retirement age despite saving aggressively.


This is where it all goes for most of us, and I am in pretty much the same boat. Nowadays, each of us can no longer and should no longer rely on state or society for safety net, and have to invest more time, effort, money into our own. Gotta become more aware of insurance safety net products (disability income, long term care, life, medical, etc.). Families got to stay closer together and use available resources more efficiently, to be more willing to help one another and share (e.g spare time, rooms in houses). Governments should do more with less, instead of taxing middle class through the nose while not providing anything.
 
flipdewaf
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Re: Strikes in France Last Week

Tue Dec 24, 2019 10:24 am

In times gone by the care level which was given to the elderly by different cultures was very dependent upon the level of usefulness vs the level of burden that the aging people had on the rest oft he population, many cultures ceremonially killed people of a certain age or sent them away from the tribe to die on their own. As humans became a less nomadic hunter gatherer species and turned to organised agriculture the role of the elderly became both the child care and teachers of wisdom and so came a time whereby we learned to care for the elderly. The first pensions were those from war where people were repaid for their acts toward a country and in time this became a useful tool in the world of finance and then became codified in to laws in many places in the second half of the 20th century. If the elderly stop being useful to the societies they are in, who knows what will happen...

Happy Holidays Everyone!!!!!!

Fred
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Aesma
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Re: Strikes in France Last Week

Tue Dec 24, 2019 11:22 am

The strikes were not just one day, they started on the 5th and are ongoing since then. Little trains, and almost no metros for that entire time (only line 1 and 14 in Paris are running normally, as they're automatic...).

I work close to home so I wasn't affected until last week when I was training for a Cisco certification in Paris, I had to endure hours of traffic every morning and every night because of this.

Also, the reform is not about raising the retirement age, at least not initially. It's to transform the system into a points based one, from an annuity based one. That should allow people to retire at any age, with a pension level determined according to the number of points earned, and the life expectancy at that age.

This was the promise president Macron made during his campaign.

The problem is that since then, new studies have found that the system will have a significant deficit from the start, so it's not viable without a new addition, a "pivot age", of 64 years, where you would get a lowered pension if retiring before, and a higher one if retiring later. The current retirement age of 62 would make a come back, so you can retire before that with an even lower pension, at 62 with a lower pension, and at 64 with a full pension.

One other promise was that people who will retire between now and 5 years from now wouldn't see any change, but that "pivot age" is supposed to be implemented gradually starting in 2022, so that's a broken promise.

The two main issues are that government communication on this reform has been awful. It's supposed to be beneficial for the vast majority of people, it's not made to spend less money at all, so there will be more money in the pockets of everyone, at least initially, yet most people think the opposite is true.

The other issue is that with this fairer universal system, designed so that's it's easy to change careers, take part in the jig economy, go from the public sector to the private sector, etc. (something very rare today, since public employees have a job for life, and a sweet pension deal), one category of people will be big losers : public employees, mainly professors and school teachers, who have a crap salary but an OK pension, the new pension would be according to their salary, so crap; and quasi public employees of the national electric company and rail companies, who can retire as early as 52, with a good pension, and a very good salary before that. That's why exactly these people are striking, while most French people are not.
New Technology is the name we give to stuff that doesn't work yet. Douglas Adams
 
flipdewaf
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Re: Strikes in France Last Week

Tue Dec 24, 2019 12:42 pm

Aesma wrote:


Very interesting!

What is it that determines the number of 'points'? I'd guess that the 'points' are still eared on maternity or paternity leave but is it based on pay or is there some relevance to the job that is being done like is there some morality based system for more points or a fire fighter who may find it difficult to work after a certain age due to physical limitations?
Would a nurse, for example, earn more points per euro earned and is this something that could be fiddled later by the relevant politicians in order to help win votes in elections from relevant voters?

Fred
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DeltaMD90
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Re: Strikes in France Last Week

Tue Dec 24, 2019 10:04 pm

ArchGuy1 wrote:
and commuters faced hours long delays in the train network as train drivers refused to go to work. Hospitals had to requisition workers for essential services as health care workers went on strike. Electricity was cut by union activists to nearly 100,000 homes and offices

I can't believe this happens in a civilized country. Absolutely maddening
 
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N14AZ
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Re: Strikes in France Last Week

Tue Dec 24, 2019 11:10 pm

DeltaMD90 wrote:
ArchGuy1 wrote:
and commuters faced hours long delays in the train network as train drivers refused to go to work. Hospitals had to requisition workers for essential services as health care workers went on strike. Electricity was cut by union activists to nearly 100,000 homes and offices

I can't believe this happens in a civilized country. Absolutely maddening

True. It’s crazy. I will have to work until I am 67. Many of my ex-colleagues even work after retirement. It’s a mathematical consequence of the fact that in Western countries younger generations have less children than the previous generation. Live with it. Some glasses of French wine might help. Demonstrations will not change the laws of mathematics.
 
Dieuwer
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Re: Strikes in France Last Week

Tue Dec 24, 2019 11:15 pm

Demonstrators usual get what they want in France. So why not this time.
And "math" is dependent on money in France. Need more of it? Just raise taxes or borrow more.
 
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Braybuddy
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Re: Strikes in France Last Week

Wed Dec 25, 2019 7:25 am

What are the chances of Macron holding-out on this one? French governments usually back-down in the face of widespread strikes. When similar strikes forced the government to abandon reforms around ten years ago a French friend claimed his country was "unreformable". Is this still the case?
 
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Dutchy
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Re: Strikes in France Last Week

Wed Dec 25, 2019 7:50 am

Good question, the jury is still out on that one. Even the French workforce must understand that reforms are needed.
Many happy landings, greetings from The Netherlands!
 
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Aesma
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Re: Strikes in France Last Week

Wed Dec 25, 2019 11:02 am

I don't know if this has been made clear but the pension system we're talking about is a mandatory state pension, an unfunded contributory pension based on redistribution of contributions from those working to those in retirement. So there is a direct correlation between workers and pensioners, with a ratio getting worse and worse.

There are supplementary pensions, with a part that is also mandatory, and that one is managed by unions (including employers) and has money aside, put on the markets, in bonds, etc. That pension is already using a points' system. So unions are criticizing the new system while already managing a similar one.

flipdewaf wrote:
Aesma wrote:

Very interesting!

What is it that determines the number of 'points'? I'd guess that the 'points' are still eared on maternity or paternity leave but is it based on pay or is there some relevance to the job that is being done like is there some morality based system for more points or a fire fighter who may find it difficult to work after a certain age due to physical limitations?
Would a nurse, for example, earn more points per euro earned and is this something that could be fiddled later by the relevant politicians in order to help win votes in elections from relevant voters?

Fred


10 euros paid into the system gives you a point.

Then in retirement with a "full pension" you would get 0,55€ per year per point. That value would rise as salaries will rise (the price of a point might also, but that's not clear yet).

The original idea is that everybody would buy points at the same price, to the tune of 28% of the salary, corresponding roughly to what we pay into the current system. There would be a new limit at 120 000€/year, above that salary you wouldn't buy points, and wouldn't get a higher pension either.

Parents would get a 5% bonus per child, for the mother or the father or split between the two.

For difficult/dangerous jobs, the idea was to give bonus points, but it's difficult to know in the end, since for example cops and gendarmes have been promised they would keep their early retirement, same for soldiers and military officers, so how would that work exactly isn't known. For professors, the idea is to raise their salaries over 10 years, especially those of younger ones, so that they would get the right amount of points to get a similar pension as today.

It has been promised to unions that difficult jobs like nursing, night work etc., would be taken into account, but no details yet. Personally I feel that the right way, including for cops etc., should be to raise their salaries, so that naturally raise their pension, or allows them to retire earlier with an OK pension, but that would be too simple it seems.

Also, for cops who argue that past a certain age they can't run after criminals, my answer would be that older cops should drive desks, and all the younger ones should be out there, but what do I know ?

Nobody has brought the argument yet, but how come train drivers who are just there so the train automation can watch over them, need to retire at 52, but pilots can keep flying until 65 ?

Finally, keep in mind this is a preemptive strike. The government communication has been awful, but the law was scheduled to be launched months from now, it was nowhere near ready. The CGT union (communists, basically) already knew it would be against the law, so they chose the 5th December to start a strike, because in 1995 a similar strike in December led to victory with the pension reform being scrapped.

It's a double edged sword, as there is no way Macron can give up, if he does his presidency is finished.
New Technology is the name we give to stuff that doesn't work yet. Douglas Adams
 
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Aesma
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Re: Strikes in France Last Week

Wed Dec 25, 2019 11:08 am

A big problem the government is having is that French people expect to get a lower pension than current pensioners, or that the system will collapse entirely. Younger people especially think the system won't be there for them.

So in a way, we're realists. And that new system isn't solving that issue. It's just making it far easier to tinker with to save it, for example raise the cost of a point a little, freeze or even lower the value given by a point in retirement, etc. Everyone would be affected equally by such tinkering, unlike currently when some employees got affected by a reform, while others (driving trains...) were shielded from them.

Personally since I'm forced to pay into the system I feel everything must be done so that I get something out of it, but too many people seem to think that another solution can be found, like taxing companies and "the rich" more.
New Technology is the name we give to stuff that doesn't work yet. Douglas Adams
 
ArchGuy1
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Re: Strikes in France Last Week

Wed Dec 25, 2019 9:07 pm

Aesma wrote:
The strikes were not just one day, they started on the 5th and are ongoing since then. Little trains, and almost no metros for that entire time (only line 1 and 14 in Paris are running normally, as they're automatic...).

I work close to home so I wasn't affected until last week when I was training for a Cisco certification in Paris, I had to endure hours of traffic every morning and every night because of this.

Also, the reform is not about raising the retirement age, at least not initially. It's to transform the system into a points based one, from an annuity based one. That should allow people to retire at any age, with a pension level determined according to the number of points earned, and the life expectancy at that age.

This was the promise president Macron made during his campaign.

The problem is that since then, new studies have found that the system will have a significant deficit from the start, so it's not viable without a new addition, a "pivot age", of 64 years, where you would get a lowered pension if retiring before, and a higher one if retiring later. The current retirement age of 62 would make a come back, so you can retire before that with an even lower pension, at 62 with a lower pension, and at 64 with a full pension.

One other promise was that people who will retire between now and 5 years from now wouldn't see any change, but that "pivot age" is supposed to be implemented gradually starting in 2022, so that's a broken promise.

The two main issues are that government communication on this reform has been awful. It's supposed to be beneficial for the vast majority of people, it's not made to spend less money at all, so there will be more money in the pockets of everyone, at least initially, yet most people think the opposite is true.

The other issue is that with this fairer universal system, designed so that's it's easy to change careers, take part in the jig economy, go from the public sector to the private sector, etc. (something very rare today, since public employees have a job for life, and a sweet pension deal), one category of people will be big losers : public employees, mainly professors and school teachers, who have a crap salary but an OK pension, the new pension would be according to their salary, so crap; and quasi public employees of the national electric company and rail companies, who can retire as early as 52, with a good pension, and a very good salary before that. That's why exactly these people are striking, while most French people are not.

The strikes last week even caused schools in France to be shut down.
 
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Aesma
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Re: Strikes in France Last Week

Mon Jan 20, 2020 3:26 pm

The strikes are still going on, for 6 weeks straight. The main union of RATP has stopped it though, so metros and buses in Paris are almost back to normal. SNCF trains are hit and miss. Friday a new wave of strikes is planned.

At my workplace, on a closed campus, security has now parked cars in front of the doors of our electric transformers, as apparently some EDF/Enedis employees (national electric utility, national grid) are shutting down electricity to random users, private and public alike. We have backup generators, and a solar array, however if you mess with the transformers, you can shut everything down.

Most ports have been disturbed by dockers' strikes. French commercial ports are already dwarfed by Belgian, Italian and Spanish ones because of a history of strikes, so this will not help.

After pilots and cabin crew have gotten some concessions, aviation has not been affected too much.
New Technology is the name we give to stuff that doesn't work yet. Douglas Adams

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