On the Uprisings in France

Nasr, Edwin
Date Written:  2016-04-22
Publisher:  CounterPunch
Year Published:  2016
Resource Type:  Article
Cx Number:  CX19261

At the beginning of March 2016, France's now ultra-liberal Socialist Party (PS) government officially revealed a labour reforms bill whose objective was to promote the competitiveness of businesses operating in France. The bill, commonly referred to as the El Khomri (the country's Labour Minister) law, was instantly perceived by most leftist factions as a fundamental attack on workers rights and a downright sabotage of the French Labour Code ("Code du Travail"), considered one of Europe's most progressive. The law allows for companies to reach "agreements" with its staff over working conditions without the need to negotiate with trade unions, subjecting workers to employers' arbitrary decisions (in regards to longer hours and lower overtime pay) without any legal protection. It also facilitates mass sackings and individual lay-offs by relaxing French law's constraint on firing and hiring, and casts aside the sacrosanct 35-hour work week in favour of a lengthened, more "flexible" one.

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