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TOPIC: senior workers


Lost In France's Retirement Age Battle: Making Space For Older Workers

As debates and protests continue in France over increasing the pension age, many seniors are already voluntarily returning to work. Some do so to keep busy, but many are forced to by the cost-of-living crisis.

PARIS — “Can you show us the example, so we do the same on the other side?" Rannia, 26, asks her older colleague as they set up the shop windows where the starters will be offered. It's a little after 11 a.m., the Bercy Lumière inter-company restaurant will open its doors in 30 minutes, and the pressure is starting to rise.

The older worker, Regina, is moving non-stop, trying to create harmony between the colors of the different dishes. Leeks with mayonnaise, pasta salad with dried tomatoes… The different dishes are displayed on heavy trays, and it's Rannia who takes care of transporting them: “Where can I put this for you?"

The two women have been working together for just over a year. At nearly 50 years old, Regina could soon be considered a "senior" by the government, which is debating the creation of a "senior index" to promote the employment of older people as part of reforms.

In France, as debates over increasing the pension age by two years have spark new rounds of strikes, companies are still hesitant to recruit seniors: in 2021, 56% of 55-64-year-olds were in employment compared to 71.5% of people of the same age group in Germany.

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