• France's news in English
 
app_header_v3

And yet another Hollande reform goes up in smoke

Joshua Melvin · 28 Mar 2014, 12:17

Published: 28 Mar 2014 12:17 GMT+01:00

France’s Constitutional Council ruled on Thursday that a reform that would have allowed the government to fine companies that shut down profitable factories was unconstitutional.

The reform was deemed by the council - France's highest constitutional authority - to be a violation of “a freedom of undertaking and private property rights.”

The plan to fine companies which close factories without having explored alternatives was part of a landmark Hollande reform aimed at appeasing industry workers, thousands of whom have lost jobs in recent years.

But the decision to strike down the key clause in a law promised by candidate Hollande in 2012, serves as yet another embarrassing blow for the president and means he holds an unenviable record.

The council's ruling is the 13th law to be invalidated since he took office, putting him ahead of former presidents Nicolas Sarkozy and François Mitterand, who both had 12 during their first two years as president, Europe 1 radio reported. Perhaps the biggest and most embarrassing setback for Hollande was when the Constitutional Council threw out his flagship 75 percent tax law, which was subsequently resuscitated in a different form

The latest to bite the dust was the so-called "Florange law", named after a steelworks in northern France where candidate Hollande told workers facing layoffs that he would pass legislation to protect their rights in case of a shutdown.

The law, which was only approved at the end of February, came too late to stop steel giant Arcelor Mittal from shutting two blast furnaces in Florange in northern France last year.

Another clause of the law, which did make it past the council, makes it compulsory for any company that employs more than 1,000 workers to look for a buyer for a site they want to close in three months' time. However the planned penalty for failing to do so, a fine the equivalent of 20 times the minimum wage for each worker affected, didn’t survive the constitutional review.

Under the law approved by the ruling Socialists along with their Green coalition partners, workers can also make an acquisition offer. The centre-right UMP party of former president Nicolas Sarkozy, which is seen as more pro-business, voted against the bill.

The decision on the law comes as Hollande's popularity rate, which stands in the teens, is the lowest of any modern French president and his Socialist party is expected to lose many local seats in Sunday's local elections. 

Elections 2014: Five key key questions for the run-off

Joshua Melvin (joshua.melvin@thelocal.com)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
The burning questions about Brexit facing British expats
Sarlat in the Dordogne where there are many concerned Britons right now. Photo: Ben Salter/Flickr

The Brexit vote has not changed anything yet, but there's no doubt our heads are full of questions about what might happen?

The ten most expensive motorways in France
Photo: AFP

A new study has shone a light on which stretches of motorway in France cost the most per kilometre.

British royals in France to mark Somme centenary
Britain's Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge (L) and Britain's Prince William are to attend the vigil on Thursday. Photo: AFP

Prince William, his wife Kate and brother Harry are set to attend a vigil in France.

Mont-St-Michel (where bikes are banned) all set for Tour
Photo: Screen grab BFM TV

The Tour de France will start in possibly the only village in France where bikes are banned.

The 16 must-visit towns in France you've never heard of
Photo: calips96/Flickr

Sarlat, Rocamadour? Old news.

Opinion - Brexit
Brexit: Brussels should have stood up for itself more
Photo: AFP

Why didn't Brussels join the scrap instead of allowing itself to be bashed up by the British media, argues France based author Stephen Clarke, who knows a thing or two about the EU.

Good news for renters: New caps to hit Paris region
Sunset over Val de Marne to the southeast of Paris. Photo: Gabriel de Castelaze/Flickr

France's rental cap laws will soon be rolled out across the greater Paris region.

'Giving in to fear': Anger as Paris gay pride cut back
Gay Pride Paris 2015. Photo: AFP

The annual Paris gay pride parade on Saturday will be half as long as usual due to security concerns, but members of the LGBT community say this is just giving in to fears.

Tour de France: 23,000 police and special ops join the ride
Photo: AFP

Not to mention the elite special-ops forces who will also be on duty.

What France says will be the impact of Brexit
Photo: Oli Bac/Flickr

The French president and his government have been talking about the impact of Brexit in several areas. Here's what they had to say.

Sponsored Article
Education abroad: How to find an international school
Paris to honour Ireland's two sets of 'wonderful' fans
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Politics
When France 'ignored' the result of an EU referendum
New app aims to rid Paris pavements of dog poo
Sponsored Article
Why Swiss hospitality graduates are in demand
Society
No more plastic bags! See what changes in France from July 2016
Sponsored Article
Avoid hidden fees when sending money overseas
National
Mixed reaction from the French as UK votes for Brexit
National
How Brexit could now scupper that dream move to France
Brexit limbo: What happens next for Brits in France?
Gallery
Ten reasons why you should think about becoming French
Analysis & Opinion
Brexit: Life for Brits in France 'will get more complicated'
Culture
20 English words that 'should be banished' from French
National
Best Briehaviour: A guide to French cheese etiquette
Features
And the best city in France for expats to live in is...?
Society
Forget bikes, Paris is set to roll out scooter rentals
National
'We fear for our safety': French police feel the strain
Lifestyle
Why Rennes (and not Paris) is the best city in France for expats to live
National
Why are the French losing appetite for baguettes?
Lifestyle
Naturism booms in France as young eager to ditch clothes
Lifestyle
Is working life better in London or Paris?
National
Dear Americans: Please come to Paris
National
It's official (kind of): French work fewest hours in EU
And the best football fans of Euro 2016 in France are?
National
Paris has wettest spring in 100 years and it's hitting morale
Police murders remind France of complexity of terror threat
2,764
jobs available