French Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne proposed on Sunday to water down planned pension reform to allow some people who started working early to also take early retirement, in order to win conservative support for the reform in parliament.
The government of President Emmanuel Macron wants to delay the retirement age by two years, to 64, and extend the contribution period for workers within the framework of a reform that it considers necessary to keep the system out of red numbers in the coming years.
Given that his party lost a majority last year, the government needs the votes of the conservative ‘Los Republicanos’ to pass the unpopular reform in Parliament.
Although workers who started working before the age of 20 will still be able to leave the active life early under the reform, Borne was open to suggestions from conservatives that benefit more workers.
“We are going to advance by extending the measure of long careers to those who started working at 20 and 21 years of age. They will be able to retire at 63 years of age,” Borne declared in an interview with the Sunday newspaper ‘Le Journal du Dimanche’.
A spokesman for the Republicans in the lower house, deputy Pierre-Henri Dumont, told ‘Franceinfo’ radio that the concession was not enough to gain the support of party members.
According to Borne, the measure would affect 30,000 people and cost up to 1 billion euros (1.1 billion dollars) a year, so a source of financing would have to be found.
Dumont said an alternative amendment proposed by his party would benefit “hundreds of thousands” of people a year.
Borne’s government has faced two days of national strikes since presenting the reform on January 10, with unions planning another on Tuesday, February 7.
*With Reuters; adapted from its original in English