Section Agence France-Presse du Syndicat national des journalistes
Agence France-Presse Branch of the French National Journalists' Union (SNJ)
News & Views
Early Retirement Plan: A Strictly VOLUNTARY Option
Having obtained the passage of its early departure project for headquarters-status staff, AFP management is now in the process, as laid down in the agreement, of informing everyone who is likely to be eligible. For staff at the Paris headquarters, an information meeting is scheduled for Thursday June 22nd.
It is important to recall that the plan is strictly voluntary, and that no employee can be obliged to take it.
This means that information on the plan must be provided in a fair and equitable manner, in the same form for everyone and without any pressure whatsoever being brought to bear.
It is not the job of heads of service, or of any other member of management, to let individual staff members know that it would be considered a good thing if they were to take the plan, or to drop hints about possible deals that could be arranged to make a specific departure more financially attractive.
The SNJ’s work during the recent period has shown that a decision on taking early departure should never be taken lightly, be it from the strictly financial viewpoint, or with regard to future benefits such as health insurance, retirement contributions, taxes, etc.
But it should also be remembered that taking early retirement is always, in the last analysis, a personal decision, and one in which material questions are not the only ones to be weighed up. People also need to ask themselves whether they really know what they will do with the extra years of free time they will be obtaining, for example. And to what extent they are ready to function without the structure, and the web of relationships, that regular work brings.
For all the above reasons it is essential that the information provided about the early retirement plan be both reliable and honest, and that nobody should feel that they are being hounded out of the company.
Management must also accept that when an employee says "no", that really means "no".
As regards people working in services which have either already been closed, or which are perceived as being threatened with closure, it is management’s responsibility to offer them other posts elsewhere if they do not wish to take early retirement.
Don’t hesitate to let us know if the above principles are not observed. Our contact e-mail address can be found at the bottom of this page.
21 July 2004