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.
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
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
in the profession!
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
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
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
French writer Georges BERNANOS wrote 'One does not improvise the future, one
is our turn!
Reference to the article of Eduardo ESPERT.
in chief of INFO RETRAITES (France)