One Place Has Raised Their Retirement Age And People Are Not Happy

France raised its minimum retirement age from 62 to 64 to ensure the country's pension system won't fall into a deficit in the coming years.

By Charlene Badasie | Published

retirement rent prices

The retirement age in France has been raised from 62 to 64 years old. President Emmanuel Macron signed the unpopular bill into law, using special constitutional powers to avoid a parliamentary vote. Speaking on behalf of the French leader, Olivier Veran and Budget Minister Gabriel Attal said he didn’t want to push the law forcefully but had no choice.

Addressing French media via CNN, they said if reforms were not implemented now, more drastic measures would be seen in the future. The changes to the retirement age prompted protests across the country since the concept was floated in January. At the time, President Macron said the shift was required to prevent the entire pension system from falling into a deficit.

The risk is not unfounded as the French population becomes older and life expectancy increases. Still, labor leaders called for a new wave of protests, with thousands of people gathering at Place de la Concorde in Paris and other cities across the country. Demonstrations have occurred regularly since mid-January as millions oppose the new retirement plan.

“By resorting to [constitutional article] 49.3, the government demonstrates that it does not have a majority to approve the two-year postponement of the legal retirement age,” Head of the CFDT Union, Laurent Berger, said via CNN. Head of the CGT trade union, Philippe Martinez, also called for more protests.

The controversial retirement move also prompted opposition lawmakers to demand a change of government. According to NPR, a communist party leader likened the constructional power to a “guillotine.” Others called the decision a “denial of democracy,” which indicates severe flaws in Macron’s leadership. And the far-right National Rally party said it would file a no-confidence motion.

As protestors took to the streets to voice their displeasure about the retirement reform, 310 people were detained across France on March 16th. While calm was restored to most locations within 24 hours, some demonstrators briefly blocked Paris’ ring road causing long traffic delays. A strike by garbage workers resulted in streets being littered with trash bags.

Due to sanitary concerns at the time, Interior Minister Darmanin said striking workers would be forced to work by police. “I respect the strike of the garbage collectors. However, what is not acceptable is unsanitary conditions,” he said via CNN. Security forces were also ordered to “maintain protections for elected officials” who may be threatened due to the new retirement reform.

Retiring with a full pension at 62 is considered a sacred rite of passage in France. The sensitive issue has become even more volatile due to the surges in the cost of living. But since the country has one of the lowest retirement ages in the world, the government also spends more money on pensions than their economic counterparts.

In the United States, folks can file for Social Security benefits at 62. However, retirement at this age will result in reduced payments for life. For example, people to fall into the full retirement age of 67 will receive only 70 percent of the benefit if they claim at the earliest age, CNN Politics reports.

Interestingly, have been proposals to increase the retirement age to reform Social Security. Republican Presidential candidate Nikki Haley suggested raising the age for Americans in their 20s to match their life expectancy. But the proposal is highly controversial and will be met with opposition if it moves any further from the idea stage.