This Tuesday, Muriel Pénicaud receives unions at the Ministry of Labor to discuss the arduousness and employment of seniors. In the pension reform bill, it is the vagueness which continues to dominate concerning the way in which certain aspects of the text will be managed, including two which are today on the agenda: arduousness and employment seniors. This Tuesday, January 14, the Minister of Labor Muriel Pénicaud receives the unions to work on these themes which, for different reasons, are just as sensitive as the pivotal age, finally suspended.

Painfulness criteria.

The best consideration of arduousness is an obligation for the government, which intends to end the special regimes while introducing specificities "which will not be linked to companies, but to trades". To do this, the CFDT and Unsa have a ready-made idea: the reintroduction of the four arduousness criteria, removed by the "Macron ordinances" at the start of the five-year term. These criteria, which had been defined in 2015, related to the manual handling of heavy loads, painful postures, mechanical vibrations and dangerous chemical agents. From now on, only night work, repetitive work, so-called “3x8” work, work in a “hyperbaric” environment (under high pressure), noises and extreme temperatures remain in the “personal prevention account”. "With the criteria recognized today, it is 180,000 people concerned, if we put the other four criteria, that makes 800,000 people, and there, it starts to make sense", justified Laurent Berger

But the government is, for the moment, completely opposed to this option. The secretary of state in charge of the file, Laurent Pietraszewski, clearly closed the door, on the grounds that these criteria "were not or hardly evaluated in the life of companies". A reluctance, moreover, shared by Medef.

For its part, the executive wants rather to encourage "retraining schemes" for people exercising a difficult job. Another avenue formulated by Édouard Philppe: make the current system “more generous”, by lowering, for example, the number of nights worked in order to benefit from taking the criterion into account.

The employment of seniors.

Another point that will be discussed between Muriel Pénicaud and the social partners: the employment of seniors. A sector in which France is far behind in comparison with its European partners, according to figures from the Dares (Department of Research Animation, Studies and Statistics). A report by the Court of Auditors published in October puts the employment rate of 55-64 year olds at 52.3%. However, and even if the pivotal age has been removed (temporarily) from the text, the government intends to encourage the French to work longer. A wish that contradicts the cruel reality of the job market for seniors. 40% of employees today, when they retire, are no longer at work.

It remains to be seen which tracks will be discussed on Tuesday. Medef proposes to introduce a “progressive retirement”, by proposing to the employees concerned to spend 80% then 60% of working time, by compensating for the rest of the missing salary by a pension paid by the pension fund. In other words, to relieve businesses of the cost of seniors.

The reformist unions prefer reclassification solutions and the launch of information campaigns to "promote the intergenerational", as the CFDT wants.

Jenny Chase for DayNewsWorld