Group of European Pensioners from Savings Banks and Financial Institutions

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Index of documents > Euromeetings Magazine > Euromeetings Number 4



THE year 1999 has marked a decisive turning point in the life of the French Savings Banks, and has been fatal for the Caisse Général de Retraite (General Savings Bank of Retirement) of the Savings Banks staff. Indeed, the law of reform of 29 of June 1999 has made our Institutions lose their non profit character to transform them into co-operative companies. The statute of a sheer public limited company has been luckily avoided, thanks, partially, to the interventions of the Fédération Française des Retraités before the authorities. The Federation has even forced some amendments to be made, of which there is one that is essential: the official recognition by the Law of the notion of 'former employees'. This regulation will allow the retired to be present in the Local Societies of Savings, by means of the Federation as a legal entity. They will also be able, theoretically, to enter the Conseils d’Orientation et de Surveillance (Committees of Orientation and of Surveillance) with a deliberative voice.

 

But it is true that the arrival to the Savings Banks of owners of co-operative shares is going to change the conditions of management and will suppose new mergers between the Savings Banks as is feared. 'Social plans' of which the active will pay the cost, and, most of all, even the philosophy of the function that they perform will be called into question, both before the individuals as before society.

 

In what concerns the Caisse Générale de Retraites, it all began on 31 December 1997, when the Head of the Net denounced unilaterally the statutes of this institution.

 

Upheaval in the profession!

In this way an old institution of nearly 50 years was brutally condemned to death. The authorities, probable instigators of this decision, profited from the Law of Reform of the Savings Banks to introduce, under the form of a subtle amendment, the possibility of putting an end to the present statute of the staff, that emanated from a law, to overturn the totality of the employees into the system of collective agreements. The direct consequence and the most dramatic is the obligation of these to integrate directly and brutally into the inter-professional regimes of complementary retirements. This situation is extremely serious, because pensions paid by these institutions are much lower than those of our Caisse de Retraite. The negotiations are in course to maintain the achieved rights.

 

The Federation fights in all fronts, while the relations with the active are sometimes delicate. But the fact that our associates represent 70% of the retired and that we have the possibility to enter the institutions with deliberative voices encourages us to reinforce our actions.

 

But we must not expect much: the years to come will be extremely difficult, as on the European level, and the situation is not encouraging. From here the need for the European Association to begin a global strategy to intervene directly and effectively before the Commission of Brussels. The excellent work of Frank SALZA, President of the Italian retired, would be a good base for reflection for a work group that studied these problems. The defence of the purchasing power of the retired, dignity, recognition and responsibilities; such are our claims.

 

At the beginning of the third millennium the European retired would affirm in this way their will to integrate deeply in the social fabric, adopting the intergenerational principal.

 

The French writer Georges BERNANOS wrote 'One does not improvise the future, one makes it'.

 

Now it is our turn!

 

* Reference to the article of Eduardo ESPERT.

 

 

Jean Vauriot

Editor in chief of INFO RETRAITES (France)