• France edition
 
And yet another Hollande reform goes up in smoke
Yet another one of Hollande's reforms has been deemed unconstitutional. Photo:AFP

And yet another Hollande reform goes up in smoke

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

Don't miss stories about France, join us on Facebook and Twitter

Joshua Melvin (joshua.melvin@thelocal.com)

Don't miss...X
Left Right

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Ligue 1
Blow for French league as Falcao departs
Radamel Falcao has left French Ligue 1 side to join Manchester United. Photo: AFP

Blow for French league as Falcao departs

The French league was dealt a blow on Monday when one of its star names, Monaco's Colombian striker Radamel Falcao, left to join Manchester United. The move shows clubs in France's Ligue 1, with the exception of PSG, cannot compete with Europe's big teams. READ  

Photo of French pupils draws 'racist' backlash
An Education Ministry photo has prompted an online controversy in France, because only one kid is white. Photo: Sophie Brändström/Education Ministry

Photo of French pupils draws 'racist' backlash

The French government has firmly rebuked scores of 'racist' comments left on an education ministry Facebook post which shows a back-to-school scene with mostly non-white children. The image has elicited a furious online debate. READ  

French bureaucrats go after baker for 22 cents
Bureaucrats at the RSI have threatened legal action against a retired baker for a debt of 22 centimes. Photo: AFP

French bureaucrats go after baker for 22 cents

A retired pastry maker from the south of France was given a nasty shock this week when French authorities threatened to take legal action against him over unpaid debt. He stands accused of owing 22 centimes to the state. A stamp in France costs 59 cents. READ  

Ask The Experts - French savings
Saving money in France: What's the best option?
What's the best thing to do with your savings in France? Photo: Shutterstock

Saving money in France: What's the best option?

Ever wondered what's the best thing to do with your savings in France? As part of our "Ask The Experts" series we've invited expat financial adviser Jonathan Cooper to tell you what to do with your hard-earned euros. READ  

Paris building blast: Seventh body found
Firefighters pull a body from the rubble after an explosion brought down an apartment block near Paris on Sunday. Photo: Fred Dufour/AFP

Paris building blast: Seventh body found

French rescue workers pulled a seventh body out of the rubble of a four-storey building near Paris on Monday. The apartment block collapsed on Sunday after an explosion. One person is still believed to be missing. READ  

France's 'Tony Blair' divides Socialist Party
Does the French PM Manuel Valls remind you of anyone? A younger Tony Blair perhaps? Photo: Jean-Pierre Muller/AFP

France's 'Tony Blair' divides Socialist Party

French Prime Minister Manuel Valls urged Socialist Party rebels to unite behind the government this weekend, as opposition among dissenters on the left against the leader they are increasingly referring to as a French "Tony Blair", continues to grow. READ  

Ligue 1 round-up
PSG in five-goal rout as Bordeaux slip up
Zlatan celebrates after scoring one of three goals against St Etienne on Sunday night. Photo: Franck Fife/AFP

PSG in five-goal rout as Bordeaux slip up

French champions PSG made a statement of intent on Sunday beating Saint Etienne 5-0 at the Parc des Princes, while leaders Bordeaux slipped up at home to Bastia and Lyon lost again. READ  

Escaped British killer surrenders in France
French police had launched a manhunt for an escaped British killer. Photo: Philippe Huguen/AFP

Escaped British killer surrenders in France

After some four days on the run, an escaped mentally ill British man has returned to the French psychiatric hospital where he was forcibly committed for beating a man to death with a four-kilo weight. READ  

IMF board expresses confidence in Lagarde
Christine Lagarde, who revealed she had been charged on Wednesday after being questioned as part of a corruption investigation. Photo: AFP

IMF board expresses confidence in Lagarde

The board of the International Monetary Fund has reiterated its support for Managing Director Christine Lagarde, after a French court placed her under formal investigation in a graft scandal. READ  

Guest blog - French in-laws
How to keep your French in-laws on your side
Meeting your French in-laws doesn't have to be scary. Photo: AFP

How to keep your French in-laws on your side

Even back home meeting the in-laws for the first time is scary, but as a foreigner in France it's doubly stressful. So here's ten tips from French blogger Geraldine Lepère to help you survive and even thrive with your new family. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Gallery
Ten dos and don'ts for keeping your French in-laws happy
National
Unemployment: How does France compare to Europe?
International
Are all the talented professionals really leaving France?
National
La France profonde: Is it a rural idyll or a backwater hell?
Travel
Check out the four new attractions coming to Paris this autumn
Gallery
The French words you can't translate literally
National
Ten things you need to know about France's economics whizzkid
International
VIDEO: Watch the top five street scams to avoid in Paris
Politics
Take a look at the bulging to-do list that awaits France's new government
Politics
Six questions for France after Hollande ousts rebels
International
Choosing schools in France: Do you go international or French?
Gallery
From kissing to bad-mouthing: Ten ways expats in France drive you mad
Culture
Ten things you need to know about the Liberation of Paris:
Travel
Watch this impressive time lapse video and you'll want to move to Paris
National
Veiled Muslim woman on a French beach prompts politician's angry rant
Travel
Forget Paris and Provence where are the least touristy areas of France?
Gallery
IN PICTURES: The battle to liberate Paris from the Nazis
National
What France means to you in just one tweet
National
15 French 'false friends' you need to watch out for
International
12 reasons to invest in Paris and seven not to
National
French hamlet 'Death to Jews' mulls name change
National
French tourist caught in Pompeii brothel romp
International
'Forget the Anglo-media's image of France, the reality is much different'
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se