The social movement and political crisis caused by pension reform must find a democratic outlet

The social movement and political crisis caused by pension reform must find a democratic outlet

Jun 9, 2023, 6:18:50 AM UTC
Volt France is calling for a debate on a fairer reform.
Volt France - Position Proposition PPL Liot

Paris, 8th of june 2023The pension reform is a democratic crisis. Volt France is calling for the power of Parliament to be strengthened in a democratic debate for a fairer reform. Volt underlines the importance of current challenges such as the employment of older people, immigration, gender equality and the digital and ecological transitions. We support the demands of the intersyndicality for social democracy and a European social model for the 21st century.

How to respond to a democratic crisis ?

How long can a democratic government turn a deaf ear in the face of a social movement unprecedented in the strength and duration of its public support, and in the plurality and solidity of its base within the trade unions? For the time being, it seems that our government has taken a gamble: 100 days, but to "accelerate". And in the hope of leaving the protests behind. The government is using all the constitutional and parliamentary instruments at its disposal to circumvent opposition to its pension reform, which is in the majority in public opinion and could potentially be in the National Assembly. In so doing, the government is turning the opposition into provocateurs and the unions into impotents. The situation is unsatisfactory for all concerned, and illustrates the limits of the presidentialist tendency of our institutions and its streamlined parliamentary system, which leaves little room for manoeuvre for opposition.

This is why Volt France calls for: 

  • Restore more power and opposition capacity to Parliament by abolishing Article 49 paragraph 3 of the Constitution or by further restricting its use, including for budgetary texts;
  • Use a proportional system of voting for legislative elections to ensure better representation of citizens and encourage political forces to compromise;
  • Change the timetable and voting system for the presidential election to a majority vote, organised after the general election, so that people no longer vote by default for a particular candidate and Parliament has the first say.
  • Recognise and give real meaning to the blank vote, by holding new elections if blank ballots represent the majority of votes cast.

Organising a democratic debate for a fairer and more ambitious reform

The vote on the draft law put forward by the centrist parliamentary group Liberté, Indépendants, Outre-mer et Territoires (LIOT) did not take place. Volt France condemned the combined use of articles 47-1, 44 paragraph 3 and 49 paragraph 3 of the Constitution, because it misused these constitutional tools in order to bypass dissent and sidestepped the work of the parliamentary opposition. Conversely, we recognise that the proposed law to repeal the pension reform put forward by the LIOT group is not a lasting solution either in form or in substance for three reasons: it requires the votes of Rassemblement National MPs to win a majority in the Assembly, it has no chance of reaching the end of the parliamentary examination process, and lastly it makes no proposal for the development or reform of the pension system. Provoked and divided on the responses to be made, the opposition is relying on the tools at its disposal with the sole prospect of stoking the anger that is rumbling through the country, without being able to respond in any concrete way. On the other hand, the majority is mobilising and using parliamentary practices to defend its recently adopted reform. Volt notes that the bill tabled by the LIOT group in the National Assembly called for a funding conference. This proposal has been relegated to second place in relation to the main purpose of the bill, which was to repeal the extension of the statutory retirement age to 64. Yet it deserves better than to be used as an alibi. Since the beginning of the political and social crisis, Volt France has been advocating the convening of a citizens' convention - including European citizens and non-EU workers - to determine the conditions for moving towards a universal points-based pension system. The aim is to move towards a more individualised and equitable system, which takes better account of the arduous nature of work, short career paths, the mobility of workers in Europe, and the situation of self-employed workers, the proportion of whom has risen sharply in recent years. The Citizens' Convention would define the main principles, social dialogue would specify the details, and Parliament would arbitrate the final compromises.

Choosing social dialogue to meet the challenges of tomorrow

Since the onset of the current crisis, Volt France has been warning that the debate on pension reform as proposed by the government is missing the major contemporary issues. We believe that raising the retirement age and extending the contribution period cannot be considered the only way to preserve the financial equilibrium of our system. And with good reason! In our country, the employment rate for older people is below the European average. Labour markets on our continent will have to rely increasingly on immigration to meet employers' needs. In our companies, equal pay and career conditions for women and men are still challenges to be met. Finally, throughout the century, digital and ecological transitions will revolutionise our working and living conditions. It is an illusion to believe that we will only have easy choices: the investments needed for the ecological transition will require us to identify priorities and make choices. It is also false to believe that we will only have sacrifices to offer future generations: the productivity gains generated by digitalisation and the development of AI will have repercussions on everyday working conditions and working hours. New social compromises need to be invented. That's why we at Volt France support the demands of the inter-union coalition on employment for older workers, arduous work and health at work, gender equality at work and social and environmental justice. Responding to these demands would open the door to the first steps towards social democracy and a European social model for the 21st century that we all want to see.


  • BFMTV - Réforme des retraites - Le soutien à la moblisiation s'effrite, mais reste majoritaire, Ariel Guez, Mai 2023 (lien)
  • Volt France - Cette réforme des retraites n'est pas notre réforme!, Fevrier, 2023 (lien)
  • Volt Europa - A Retirement Reform Disconnected from Contemporary Issues, Fevrier 2023 (lien)
  • Toute l'Europe - Le taux d’emploi des seniors en Europe, Boran Tobelem, Janvier 2023 (lien)
  • LeMonde, « La réforme des retraites devrait servir à assurer le financement de la transition énergétique », Alexis Normand, Fevrier 2023 (lien)
  • Le Grand Continent - L’écologie a besoin d’une politique macroéconomique, Jean Pisani-Ferry, Septembre 2021 (lien)
  • La Tribune - Pourquoi la réforme des retraites ne prépare pas la France à son avenir technologique, Guillaume Champeau, Mars 2023 (lien)
  • CFDT - Communiqué intersyndical : 6 juin, gagnons le retrait de la réforme et obtenons des avancées sociales !, Mai 2023 (lien)
  • Le Grand Continent - Écologie et géopolitique de la réforme des retraites, Patrice Maniglier, Mars 2023 (lien)

About Volt

As the first truly pan-European party, Volt is committed to reforming the European Union and responding to today's challenges in a coordinated way at European level. Volt's vision: a progressive Europe with an inclusive society, a climate-friendly economy, an adaptable education system and self-determined digitalisation.

Volt is convinced that only the democratic participation of all European citizens will prepare us for a sustainable, economically strong and socially just future. This is why Volt acts at all levels - from local to European, as a movement and as a party. The movement gives everyone a voice and the opportunity to engage politically from within society. Today, Volt is present all over Europe: thousands of people of all ages and professions are involved in 30 European countries with teams in hundreds of cities.

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Ulysse Gounelle - Responsable Communication
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Alexandre Bisquerra - Co-Responsable Politique
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Mis à jour le 08 juin 2023. Photo de Pixabay - libre à utiliser