Lock-in is no get-out from retirement

Thu Mar 25, 2010 2:32am EDT
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By Sophie Taylor

PARIS (Reuters) - After years trying to avoid being forced into early retirement, 63-year-old Carole Avayou felt she had no choice but to lock herself into her office to get management's attention.

A technician who had worked for Air France-KLM since 1978, Avayou had only just turned 60, France's retirement age, when she received her first notice.

Days after her milestone birthday, the company asked her for documentation showing she had accumulated the required number of years paying social security to qualify for a full pension, which would qualify her for retirement.

Avayou refused, and lost her job anyway.

"I wanted to call them out on their responsibilities and cowardice. So I locked myself in my office," she told Reuters.

"(I wanted them) to discuss things with me, hear my arguments. I put a piece of furniture behind the door and jammed the handle," she said by phone.

Avayou is now in limbo, no longer working but also not sure whether she can receive a full pension.

She said the company had been trying to force a spate of workers into early retirement before the start of this year, when a new rule allowing people to work until the age of 70 kicks in. Air France-KLM declined to comment.   Continued...