The supplementary pension plan for executives and employees in the private sector lost 4 billion euros last year because of the Covid-19.
An agency of the Agirc-Arrco and Ircantec supplementary pension schemes. (AFP / PHILIPPE HUGUEN)
New negotiations between unions and employers. They opened discussions on Monday, June 21 in order to bring back to balance the supplementary pension scheme for executives and employees of the private Agirc-Arrco, which lost 4 billion euros last year because of the Covid-19. Barely back in the green in 2019, after ten years of deficits, Agirc-Arrco plunged back into 2020, weighed down by the health crisis and especially by the massive recourse to partial unemployment which deprived it of many contributions.
If the plan, which has 13 million retirees and 23 million contributors has absorbed the shock thanks to its reserves, this jeopardizes its “golden rule”: always have at least six months in advance, at a time fifteen years old. With 62.6 billion euros on hand at the end of December, the margin is still nine months. But depending on the rate of decline in unemployment, rise in wages and gain in life expectancy, the projections diverge diametrically.
Among the hypotheses studied by Agirc-Arrco and presented Monday to the social partners, the optimistic variant provides for a decade of “moderate deficits” (less than a billion per year), a minimum of eight months of reserves, then a “situation permanently in surplus from 2031 “. Conversely, the dark scenario would lead to the bankruptcy of the regime, with 4 to 5 billion losses per year and reserves exhausted in 2036. An intermediate “variant” envisages a late return to equilibrium, in 2040, with a margin reduced to 4 months in advance.
On the employers’ side, these projections “show that it is necessary to take measures to find the financial trajectory” traced before the Covid, estimates Olivier Bogillot (Medef). Wishing to reach an agreement by the end of July, he adds wanting to “preserve assets and businesses”, which leaves as an option a total or partial freeze of pensions.
On the union side, Frédéric Sève (CFDT) recognizes that “the working people have suffered quite a bit” from the crisis, but stresses that “the system has proved its solidity” and only needs “adjustments”. “We should not take a cookie-cutter decision”, affirms for his part Michel Beaugas (FO), who wants to give himself the time to analyze the different scenarios and to “think about other solutions”.