In the government’s projections for the pension system, there is a wolf. A big and bad wolf, to read the report published this Friday by the collective “Our public services”. This group of civil servants (ranked on the left) dissected the assumptions made by the government. One of two things sums up this collective:
- Either the government has planned to freeze recruitment and reduce the purchasing power of civil servants by 10.75% over the five-year period, which would have “a large-scale negative impact on the state of public services” ;
- or else, since September, it has presented artificially doubled pension deficit figures by 2030, just to justify its reform.
Pension reform: the mirage of the “cagnotte”
The financial equilibrium of the French pension system is largely based on that of the schemes of the 3.3 million civil servants (a quarter of total expenditure) and therefore of the contributions which contribute to them.
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Towards an aggravation of the deficit?
However, the government’s assumptions provide for stability in the overall workforce for the state (from 2020 to 2070) and territorial (between 2020 and 2030) civil service. “Such a freeze (…) would lead to an unprecedented rigidification of recruitment in the public services since 2012 and to a significant reduction in the share of public employment in total employment”, comments the collective. To read their note, Bercy is also putting a virtual freeze on remuneration over the entire duration of the current five-year term. Taking inflation into account, this would translate into a significant drop in the real remuneration of civil servants “by 10.75% between 2022 and 2027”.
Sacrificed generations: behind the retirement age, social inequalities
If these two hypotheses are sincere (staff freeze and quasi-freeze on remuneration) this will have an impact on the contributions paid by the employers of the 2.2 million territorial and hospital civil servants. And so this will seriously aggravate the deficit of the global pension system. If, on the other hand, the payroll of civil servants evolved like that of the population as a whole, “the pension system deficit would be halved by 2030” . Between the two scenarios, freeze/no freeze, the difference in the contributions that will be collected is not small: it is 0.18 points of GDP by 2030, or 4.7 billion euros.
But what is the sincerity of all these figures, wonders the collective Nos Services Publics? “Such a direction would be in total contradiction with the massive needs facing public services and does not appear realistic in a context of crisis of attractiveness of the public service”. The collective does not exclude that the government has knowingly twisted its assumptions in order to dramatize the issue of its reform. “In any case, the sincerity of the public debate requires clarification”concludes the collective.