It's done. After months of high stakes political drama, the minister of labor, Eric Woerth, yesterday announced the plan to raise the retirement age from 60 to 62, to be accomplished in stages between now and 2018. The package includes a ton of other reforms, some quite technical, to help pacify those resistant to the change and to help make up the deficit which was the reason for the whole debate in the first place. Like every other industrialized nation in the world, changes in demographics have upset the apple cart of retirement finance. There are simply too few employees paying in given the number of retirees ready to dip into their benefits. Sound familiar to you Americans out there?
The package still must be approved in a legislative process, meaning that Sarkozy's opposition (the Socialist Party and the unions) still have plenty of time to make their case. In fact, Martine Aubry has already called it irresponsible. Ah well, that's how democracy works. And my guess is, given that it's already mid-June, nothing is going to get done before all of France shuts down around Bastille Day. So that means a wait until summer ends and most likely, a lot of strikes in the fall. Aux armes citoyens!