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President Macron offers pension negotiation to halt French strikes

The government of French President Emmanuel Macron has offered to negotiate its pension reform plan that instigated disruptive public sector strikes across the country. The reform proposed to raise the retirement age from 62 to 64 if an alternative could be identified to balance the books.

After two weeks of strikes, Elysée presidential palace is working to beseech Laurent Berger, the moderate leader of the French Democratic Confederation of Labour (CFDT), the largest trade union federation in France.

Distinguishing from the rival union leader’s stand, Laurent Berger is in favor of a revolutionary pension reform that would abolish privileged pension schemes at length, along with early retirement options for state railway employees. However, the leader took part in the protest against the reform plan, rejecting the proposal of raising the retirement age.

Spokesperson for government, Sibeth Ndiaye and European minister, Amélie de Montchalin both are of the opinion that employers and trade unions must come to table for negotiations on how to avert financial deficits pertaining to the pensions regime, in near future.

“We have never stopped reminding people what are the various possibilities which are on the table: lower pensions for those who have retired, higher contributions whether from employees or employers; or finally a lengthening of the period of contributions,” Sibeth Ndiaye said.

President Emmanuel Macron took the opportunity to introduce a comprehensive, points-based pension plan as a replacement for France’s 42 pension regimes. Most ministers agree that the new system did not aim at saving money, rather it would compliment a modern economy wherein people work under multiple careers.

Having said that, an official data published last month regarding the prospects for pensions in the next 10 years flared up concerns about fiscal risks, foreboding that by 2025, pensions in France would running a deficit ranging from €8bn and €17bn.

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