France’s contentious ‘Labour reforms’ sees less enthusiasm, Prez Macron hopeful of the law as ‘revolutionary’
Source : NewsBharatiDate : 03-Sep-2017
Paris, September 3: France has become the hot topic lately with its labour reforms. Prime Minister Edouard Philippe and Labour Minister Muriel Penicaud unveiled reforms to France’s infamously inflexible labour laws in a bid to lower unemployment.
The catch of the new labour law is that the companies can now hire and fire workers. The changes increase the power of employers in a country that has traditionally had some of Europe’s strongest worker protection laws. The government is hoping that giving employers more freedom to manoeuvre will help revive France’s torpid economy.
France’s uemployment rate currently stands at 9.5%, double of Germany and Britain. Macron is hoping to significantly streamline the roughly 3,000-page “red book” containing the laws governing everything from worker safety to bonuses in a way that will codify basic employment protections while giving companies, unions and employees more freedom to negotiate terms.
This is not the first time in the history of French governance. The previous government headed by Francois Hollande also tried to reform the labour code leading to demonstrations in Paris. However this time, Macron was able to convince the legislators to make the changes. The measures of the reform are expected to be adopted at a cabinet meeting on September 22 and will then need to be ratified by parliament.
Among the 36 new measures, which particularly benefit small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), is the option to negotiate some issues directly with employees on the company level. Limits on payments for wrongful dismissal are a major element of the reforms. Fired workers will now have only one year in which they can file suit, and damage payments will now follow a formula based on length of employment and will be capped. The formula will differ based on the size of the company.
Many disagreed the reform but want to give it a try before giving up. However, France Unbowed, the political party of former left-wing presidential candidate Jean-Luc Mélenchon, went so far as to call on its members to join protests on September 12 and 23.