- Title: Why should we live like our neighbours? Worker defends France's retirement age
- Date: 16th December 2019
- Summary: PARIS, FRANCE (DECEMBER 13, 2019) (REUTERS) BUILDING CARETAKER IN AN ELDERLY PERSONS' HOME, PATRICK MARTINE, IN OFFICE OF CGT UNION, OF WHICH HE IS A WORKERS' REPRESENTATIVE MARTINE TAKING DOCUMENTS MARTINE HANDING DOCUMENTS TO FELLOW CGT UNION MEMBERS POSTER THAT ROADS (French): "DO NOT TOUCH OUR PENSION FUNDS. PENSIONS BY POINTS- NEITHER FOR ME NOR FOR MY CHILDREN" MARTINE SPEAKING TO FELLOW CGT WORKERS' REPRESENTATIVES (SOUNDBITE) (French) BUILDING CARETAKER IN AN ELDERLY PERSONS' HOME, PATRICK MARTINE, 57 YEARS OLD, SAYING: "I work as a caretaker in an autonomous elderly persons' residence. I work 7 hours, 45 minutes each day, and I am 14 hours and 15 minutes on call - meaning I am at the disposal of my administration 22 out of 24 hours. So I'm being disturbed at night, etc., from Monday to Friday. I have a two-hour break when I can go out. Other than that, I'm on call." VARIOUS OF MARTINE SPEAKING TO FELLOW WORKERS' REPRESENTATIVE VEST OF CGT UNION FOR PEOPLE WORKING IN SOCIAL ACTION CENTERS IN PARIS MARTINE WITH FELLOW WORKERS' REPRESENTATIVE MARTINE'S HANDS MEGAPHONE WITH CGT STICKERS (SOUNDBITE) (French) BUILDING CARETAKER IN AN ELDERLY PERSONS' HOME, PATRICK MARTINE, 57 YEARS OLD, SAYING: "I've been working 17 years in the company, and my gross salary is 1,724 euros, there you go. We're being taken for privileged folks. No, it's not us who are privileged. It's not us." VARIOUS OF MARTINE SHOWING ESTIMATION OF MARTINE'S PENSION MARTINE'S PAY SLIP PAPER SHOWING ESTIMATION OF PENSION (SOUNDBITE) (French) BUILDING CARETAKER IN AN ELDERLY PERSONS' HOME, PATRICK MARTINE, 57 YEARS OLD, SAYING: "Why should we live like that just because our neighbours do? That's why they say the French are a bunch of moaners, because we have perks that we're not prepared to let go of." POSTER FROM 2016 CALLING FOR MOBILISATION AGAINST LABOUR REFORM LAW, THAT WENT INTO EFFECT THE SAME YER (SOUNDBITE) (French) BUILDING CARETAKER IN AN ELDERLY PERSONS' HOME, PATRICK MARTINE, 57 YEARS OLD, SAYING: "We will all lose. I will not support a step backwards on social benefits, I'm not for that. Each reform is a step backwards. Each time it's to take away, to take away, to take away. All that we won, and all that the previous generations people have won, they are taking away." MARTINE SPEAKING TO JOURNALIST VARIOUS OF MARTINE SHOWING SOCIAL ACTION CENTERS AROUND PARIS PARIS, FRANCE (DECEMBER 12, 2019) (REUTERS) CHRISTMAS TREE BRANCH WITH GIANT CGT WORKERS' UNION BALLOON APPEARING IN BACKGROUND VARIOUS OF DEMONSTRATION UNDERWAY TRAIN CONDUCTORS CHANTING
- Embargoed: 30th December 2019 16:00
- Location: PARIS, FRANCE
- Reuters ID: LVA001BA87J2F
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: President Emmanuel Macron's attempt to make France globally competitive means that Patrick Martine, concierge in a residence for the elderly, may have to retire at the age of 63 and four months, not at 62 as he was previously told.
The 57-year-old is not sure he can physically or mentally make it through an extra 16 months being at the beck and call of residents.
"I am at the disposal of my administration 22 out of 24 hours," Martine told Reuters at one of his CGT trade union's branch offices as comrades plotted their next course of strike action against the president's pension reform.
In his early career, Martine worked low-paid jobs in the private sector, including as a nightclub bouncer and driver, often away from home and with little stability. At the turn of his 40s, he opted for a public sector job in Paris.
The pay was worse but the concierge job brought income security and the guarantee of a decent pension at 62, the legal retirement age, calculated on the basis of his salary during his final six months working.
Now, he said, Macron was trying to steal that from him.
"All that we won, and all that the previous generations people have won, they are taking away," he said.
France has one of the earliest retirement ages among industrialised nations. The president, a former investment banker, says the French should work longer to get a full pension and help plug a big deficit in the pension budget as life expectancies increase.
As part of an overhaul of France's convoluted pension system, his prime minister last week announced a package of bonuses and discounts will be put in place to encourage the French to work until the age of 64 by 2027.
In Britain, by comparison, the state pension age is set to rise to 67 by 2028. In Germany, it is 65 but will increase to 67 by 2029.
Even so, Martine is furious. So too is the hard left CGT, which is spearheading public sector strikes now in their 13th day and threatening to intensify the industrial action in the build up to Christmas if Macron does not pull the reform.
"Why should we live like that just because our neighbours do," Martine said. "That's why they say the French are a bunch of moaners, because we have perks that we're not prepared to let go of."
Martine said his tough working conditions -- he complained of late-night calls and the stress of dealing with elderly residents who had suffered a fall or were going through the onset of dementia -- merited retirement at 62.
"So I'm being disturbed at night, etc., from Monday to Friday," he said.
Under Macron's proposal, Martine could still retire at 62 but he would receive about 100 euros less per month than he had anticipated.
"We will all lose," he said. "Each reform is a step backwards."
(Production: Clotaire Achi, Martin Esposito, Michaela Cabrera)
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