• France's news in English
Labour reform protests
French labour reforms: PM ready to make concessions

French labour reforms: PM ready to make concessions

Ben McPartland · 10 Mar 2016, 09:12

Published: 10 Mar 2016 09:12 GMT+01:00
Updated: 10 Mar 2016 09:12 GMT+01:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

In a bid to quell rising anger against labour reforms the French government appears ready to make at least some concessions.

Just a day after up to 500,000 students, high school pupils and workers, marched through the streets of French towns, the country’s Socialist government showed signs it was ready to cave in on some elements of the reform.

In a move aimed at appeasing the country’s youth, Labour Minister Myriam El Khomri confirmed earlier reports that they are considering dropping the measure that would have extended the number of hours companies could ask young apprentices to work for.

Currently apprentices can be asked to work up to eight hours a day or 35 hours a week, but under the government’s plan, those working hours would have been stretched to ten a day and 40 a week.

But El Khomri confirmed that a move to ditch this unpopular measure was “on the table”.

Another measure the government were looking into to pacify trade unions was a surtax on temporary contracts, called CDDs, to encourage companies to employ new recruits on permanent contracts, known as CDIs.

In France, the vast majority of recruits are hired on CDD contracts, because they are cheaper, and companies are wary about handing out CDIs because staff on permanent contracts are harder to let go.

But it leaves many workers in France moving from one CDD to another with little job security. Without a CDI, it is also much harder to get a loan, rent a flat or buy a house.

SEE ALSO: France, the country of eternal deadlock resists reforms 

El Khomri said the proposal to make employers pay a tax on CDD contracts will be put to trade unions before March 24th, the date when the bill will go before the cabinet.

French PM Manuel Valls said on Thursday he would meet with the various youth organizations that led Wednesday’s protests.

Story continues below…

Valls will meet with the student and school unions “as quickly as possible to continue talks”, said the country’s education minister Najat Vallaud Belkacem.

President François Hollande and his government see the package of reforms as the last chance to cut unemployment. They hope the measures, which will make it easier for firms to hire and fire people, will create jobs.

Supporters of the reforms believe they are essential to reviving a stagnant economy and creating jobs, and El Khomri has argued that much of the opposition to her law stems from misinformation and false rumours.

However trade unions and student groups oppose the reform because they believe it will undermine job security and make it too easy for workers to be laid off by firms.

Ben McPartland (ben.mcpartland@thelocal.com)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
How life for expats in France has changed over the years
A market in Eymet, southwestern France. Photo: AFP

Foreigners in France explain how life has changed over the years.

London calling for Calais youths, but only a chosen few
Photo: AFP

Dozens of Calais minors are still hanging their hopes on help from the UK, but not all will be so lucky.

17 different ways to talk about sex in French
Photo: Helga Weber/Flickr

Fancy a quick run with the one-legged man?

Yikes! This is what a rat-infested French jail looks like
Photo: YouTube/France Bleu TV.

This video is not for sufferers of ratophobia (or musophobia as the condition is officially called).

France to allow Baby Jesus in Town Halls this Christmas
Photo: AFP

Mary, Joseph, and baby Jesus are safe to go on display again this year, it seems.

National Front posts locations of migrants in French town
The National Front courts controversy. Photo: AFP

"Local tax payers have a right to know," says local far-right party chief.

Paris thieves use tear gas to steal €500,000 of watches
Photo: AFP

The thieves pretended to be couriers then threatened staff with tear gas to get the watches.

Bataclan survivor recounts attack in chilling drawings
Photo: BFMTV screengrab

One survivor has recounted the horrific night through illustrations.

Anger among French police grows as Hollande vows talks
French police demonstrate on the Champs Elysées. Photo: AFP

A fourth night of protests shows government efforts to ease anger among French police have been fruitless.

UK border must move back, says 'next French president'
Photo: AFP

If favourite Alain Juppé is elected, Britain and France are in for some difficult negotiations.

Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Why Toulouse is THE place to be in France right now
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Video: New homage to Paris shows the 'real side' of city
The 'most dangerous' animals you can find in France
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Swap London fogs for Paris frogs: France woos the Brits
Anger after presenter kisses woman's breasts on live TV
Is France finally set for a cold winter this year?
IN PICS: The story of the 'ghost Metro stations' of Paris
How to make France's 'most-loved' dish: Magret de Canard
Welcome to the flipside: 'I'm not living the dream in France'
Do the French really still eat frogs' legs?
French 'delicacies' foreigners really find hard to stomach
French are the 'world's most pessimistic' about the future
Why the French should not be gloomy about the future
This is the most useful French lesson you will ever have. How to get angry
Why is there a giant clitoris in a field in southern France?
French pastry wars: Pain au chocolat versus chocolatine
Countdown: The ten dishes the French love the most
Expats or immigrants in France: Is there a difference?
How the French reinvented dozens of English words
The ups and downs of being both French and English
How Brexit vote has changed life for expats in France
Twelve French insults we'd love to have in English
What's on in France: Ten of the best events in October
jobs available