Last Saturday in Paris, the government deployed its heavy artillery: 7,500 police officers were mobilised, police checked any gathering of 10 people, and in the end arrested 163 people. No doubt, the priority was to prevent the yellow jackets and the climate movement marches to mobilise massively. Yet thousands of demonstrators marched in Paris and everywhere in France.
Macron is in a delicate situation. After boasting during the summer that he was about to launch a new attack in the form of pension reform, he now seems to realise that protests could easily flare up from the still warm embers of the yellow jackets.
So the government now states its willingness to “consult with the social partners.” That is, playing for time by setting up a phony dialogue, while the main measures have already been announced.
Decreasing our pensions
For over 25 years, all the successive governments, left or right wing, have attacked our retirement benefits with the same logic: work longer for lower pensions. No less than 6 pension reforms have been passed, some against private sector employees, some against public sector employees, and another against workers under “special schemes.”
This time, under pretext of “equality”, Macron attacks everyone at once. First by decreasing pensions, switching from calculating benefits based on the best 25 years for most people, or the last 6 months for public servants, to averaging over the whole employment history.
To let us be exploited longer?
Second, by making us work longer, with a “pivot age” set to 64 or by increasing the number of contributions. This ignores the fact that in many trades, the body is too broken to keep on working after age 60 or 65, and the bosses don’t like to hire seniors. As a result, very few will be able to get a full pension. Reaching a new height of cynicism, the government predicts the raise of poverty among the retired, and therefore plans it will be possible to have a job after retiring. Should we say thanks for being allowed to work until 80 to make ends meet?
Speculating on our back!
Why the new reform? Pension funds are not in deficit, as Delevoye, Macron’s high-commissioner for pensions, admits. In fact, the goal of the government is not to save the pension system. There are more effective ways to do that: mass hires of unemployed workers, €300 raise as demanded by emergency department staff, taking from capitalist profits, raising corporate taxes, etc.
The aim of the reform is to make the pension system second-rate, to boost the development of individualised pension schemes from private insurance companies. A big boost for speculators profits.
Show them they are right to fear us
In Paris, Rennes, Lyon, Marseille, Toulouse and many other cities, tens of thousands of demonstrators and strikers responded to the call for action on September 24th, without being too bothered about the little quarrels between unions.
They made this day a new step toward a general movement of strikes and protests that would make the government back down.
The Paris public transit employees call for a new strike on December 5th. But before this, rank and file mobilisation could already heat up the social climate, as Macron fears. The government quickly gave up on its project to cut down benefits to old people who have domestic help. The government knows it is walking on hot embers and is uncomfortable, so let’s blow on these embers with all our strength.