“It is obvious that seniors and their contribution to economic growth deserve better than incomplete social negotiations”

“It is obvious that seniors and their contribution to economic growth deserve better than incomplete social negotiations”
“It is obvious that seniors and their contribution to economic growth deserve better than incomplete social negotiations”

HAS following the last pension reform, the government asked the social partners to initiate inter-professional negotiations on the employment of seniors. The discussions only resulted in a few points of convergence between the union confederations and the Union of Local Businesses (U2P), the other employers’ organizations having withdrawn. These points of convergence provide for the creation of a universal time savings account and the facilitation of professional retraining. Which is far from enough given the difficulties that seniors face in the world of work.

To understand the seriousness of the current situation, we must go back to December 18, 1963, the date on which the government of Georges Pompidou promulgated a law which established pre-retirement agreements. Companies have de facto obtained the right to shorten the careers of their employees. If they were deprived of employment, former workers received a minimum income guarantee until the legal retirement age, which was then set at 65 years. The intention of political leaders was to free up positions for the benefit of young people.

Fifty years later, in 2013, the General Inspectorate of Social Affairs (IGAS) submitted an evaluation report, in which its experts observed a gradual increase in the number of job seekers “in greater proportions for seniors and young people than for other age categories”. This is an admission of defeat: by naively thinking that putting older employees into inactivity would make room for young people, France has lost its fight against unemployment. Until 1993, however, governments increased the number of early termination schemes. These measures have only had perverse effects, in particular that of discrediting and marginalizing seniors.

56.9% of French people aged 55 to 64 are employed

In his book This social model that the world no longer envy of us (Albin Michel, 2015), the economist Jean-Olivier Hairault thus demonstrates that, far from having contributed to youth employment, “the early cessation of activity of the oldest” only caused the generalization of “early inactivity of seniors” and the deterioration of employment. A study by the statistics department of the Ministry of Labor (Dares) recalls that at the end of 2022, only 56.9% of French people aged 55 to 64 were still in work.

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