The pension reform is not for now. This is the meaning of the announcement by the Prime Minister, Jean Castex, at the end of a back-to-school government seminar on Wednesday, September 8. If he believes that it is this reform is “An absolute necessity to ensure its long-term safeguard”, he claimed that it could only be launched “When the pandemic is under control and when the economic recovery is strong enough”. “To date, these conditions are still not met”, he then asserted.
This announcement comes at a time when Emmanuel Macron intended, according to our information, to initiate part of the reform this year in order to abolish special pension schemes and to establish the minimum pension at 1,000 euros. But while the number of Covid-19 contaminations has continued to decline for several days and that INSEE has raised its growth forecast to 6.25% for 2021, this is clearly not enough for the government before launching a reform which had caused several weeks of strikes and disturbances in December 2019. The text was then suspended because of the health crisis.
The reform of unemployment insurance, “absolutely essential”
If the government has decided to procrastinate on the pension reform, it still intends to implement the one on unemployment insurance despite opposition from the unions. Also suspended due to the Covid-19 crisis, this reform is “Absolutely essential” and will be gradually applied “Between the 1er October and 1er December “, Jean Castex said on Wednesday. The Prime Minister presented this reform as one of the answers “To recruitment difficulties”, targeting “To restore order to a fundamentally useful regime, but from which the rules had gradually drifted”.
“I also, faced with the fears expressed by the unions and which you know, indicated that we would set up a monitoring and evaluation system”, insisted on clarifying the head of government. The new rules for calculating the amount of unemployment benefit were to enter into force on 1er July, but the Council of State suspended them in June, arguing “Uncertainties about the economic situation”.
The government intends to submit a new decree to the Council of State in the coming weeks. It highlights the improvement of the economic situation in the explanatory memorandum, to allow the entry into force on 1er October of the new method of calculating the daily reference wage (SJR, base of the allowance), much contested by the unions. The date of 1er December should correspond to the entry into force of the tightening of the rules on the degression of benefits and on the duration of affiliation necessary to open or top up a right.
Negotiations on salary increases
Welcoming an economic recovery “Who is there and who is strong”, the Prime Minister stressed that “The unemployment rate has never been so low since 2009. Purchasing power should also increase significantly this year”. During his press briefing on Wednesday, Mr. Castex then asked the social partners to open negotiations, in particular on wages and working conditions, in new branches, including the hotel and catering industry and the agro-food industries. .
“It is a question of working on working conditions, on the promotion of trades, on part-time work, on professional promotion but also on wages, in particular on what are called branch minima, a fortiori when those – these are lower than the minimum wage “, he explained.