There is no one single pensions system in France. Alongside the schemes that apply to general employees, there are various others, beginning with those covering workers in the agricultural sector, the public sector and — lest we forget — the so-called “special schemes” which are themselves very diverse and cover 4.5 million contributors and some 3,4 million pensioners today.
Despite the relatively small proportion of pensions that the special schemes represent, the role they play is an emblematic one, since they symbolize the last bastion of social resistance that the Juppé Plan failed to shake in 1995. The resultant trauma was such that the special schemes were deliberately excluded from the pensions reform law of 21 August 2003, and were only reparameterized later, after the salary measures that accompanied the reform were negotiated, somewhat secretively, within the public-sector companies.
Stéphane Hamayon, co-author of a reference work on the subject, provides an account here of the adaptations and reforms that have been made to three of these schemes: those of the SNCF (the French nationalized railway company), the RATP (the Paris regional transport authority) and the IEG (Electrical and Gas Industries). We now know that that special regimes will not be affected by the 2010 reform. Does the extent of other recent reforms justify the retention of the status quo in this area? The analysis developed by Hamayon goes some way towards answering this central question.