No to the deterioration of our pensions!

Lutte Ouvrière workplace newsletter
December 12, 2023

The war in Ukraine could worsen and turn into a much wider conflict at any moment. Energy prices are sky-rocketing and other prices are soaring, causing certain companies to close down. The whole country may be plunged into darkness and in order to avoid this happening the government is planning to cut off power. And what is Macron’s number one concern? Pushing back retirement age!

In the worst of situations and despite being overwhelmed by the course of events, the government will continue to attack the working class right to the end. It’s in their political genes. To them, governing means serving the interests of the bourgeoisie and therefore imposing sacrifices on the workers. This is all the truer in times of crisis, when the war between the capitalists to ensure their profits intensifies.

Yes, despite the existing threats to society in general and to the working class in particular, Macron is making things worse. After reducing unemployment benefits, he now wants to slash pension rights.

Macron is allowing himself a few more weeks to work out the details of his bill but the final version will be presented sometime in January. Then there will be a few weeks of playacting, where the opposition parties will put on a show in Parliament. And, if necessary, the government will use article 49.3 to put an end to the comedy and pass the law by force. All this so that the reform can come into effect in the summer of 2023.

The only thing that can prevent this brutal attack from happening is the intervention of the workers. The population is massively opposed to such a setback but at the moment the only way of measuring that opposition is through opinion polls. Well, the workers’ opposition will have to be expressed in the workplace and in the streets, through strikes and demonstrations!

For many workers, heating one’s home and feeding one’s family is the number one priority as prices go up. In companies everywhere, there is anger over insufficient wages. It is necessary to voice our anger and to transform it into a more general rage against the anti-worker policy of the government and big corporations.

Defending our purchasing power and our pensions make up one single battle. It is because the capitalists refuse to increase basic wages, and simply handout bonuses here and there as a diversion, that pension funds aren’t growing.

If women were paid as much as men, billions of euros would flow into pension funds. And if those over 50 were kept on the payroll rather than being pushed aside by companies there would be no deficit.

There is no reason for the government to raise the retirement age to 65. The pension fund deficit is forecasted to reach 12 billion euros a year on average in upcoming years. It would be easy to make up for that.

12 billion euros is the amount of profit TotalEnergies made in 6 months. It corresponds to not even one-tenth of the profits made by the 40 richest companies on the French stock market in 2022. And it’s 6.5% of Bernard Arnault’s fortune, estimated this week at 185 billion dollars. So the bourgeoisie has more than enough to pay for pensions!

That’s the least they could do! The capitalist class gets rich by exploiting workers during their whole life: capitalists should be the ones to pay out pensions in full. Workers shouldn’t have to make social contributions to pension funds as they do today.

We can save our pensions, provided we fight against the government - which is completely devoted to the bourgeoisie - and against the capitalist social order.

A country like France has never had so many possibilities to better take care of, feed, educate and transport the population, and yet our living conditions are getting worse in all areas.

For the rich, life is sweet and prosperous. They never have a problem with their jobs, wages or pensions: they do nothing and still hit the jackpot. This gives them the power to be in command in companies and institutions.

Where is the domination of the big bourgeoisie leading us? To a giant step backwards for the overwhelming majority of workers. And worse still, by imposing its system of competition and permanent trade war, it is also leading us to plain out war.

So, workers must assert their demands and fight, knowing that they have everything to gain in challenging the capitalist social order.

We are not condemned to live under the domination of the bourgeoisie and its politicians. We are the ones who produce all of the wealth and we are the ones who can change society and stop it from evolving towards disaster and war.

Nathalie Arthaud