Macron government launches overhaul of France's labour laws

After weeks of negotiations with unions over the summer, the centrist government revealed measures including a cap on payouts for dismissals adjudged unfair and greater freedom to hire and fire.

French President Emmanuel Macron on Thursday was set to unveil a raft of proposed reforms to the country's labour laws in an attempt to lower its unemployment rate.

In a concession to unions, normal severance pay would be increased from 20 percent of wages for each year in a company to 25 percent. "We must protect it and ensure a constructive, serene social dialogue", said Philippe at a press conference.

President Emmanuel Macron's most daring undertaking, reforming France's almost sacrosanct labor laws, got cheers and jeers as it went public Thursday.


The French government had negotiated the reforms with business owners and trade unions for the past three months, but the unveiled plan was still met with strong disapproval from some of the country's major trade unions.

He said the union would press ahead with its plan for a protest on September 12. The head of the third biggest union in France (FO), Jean-Claude Mailly, told Les Echoes daily that he was satisfied with the consultation process and would not join strike action.

The aim is to "make up for lost years, missed occasions", Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said Thursday.

Macron has previously referred to boycotts of Israel as "profoundly antisemitic", and has said anti-Zionism "leads directly to antisemitism".


Early policy announcements including an overhaul of the wealth tax and cuts to housing assistance have left a swathe of voters feeling Macron's policies favour the rich, pollsters say.

Emmanuel Macron's government has announced a "major and ambitious" transformation of France's complex labour laws aimed at tackling mass unemployment and making the country more competitive in the global market.

With the changes, companies with fewer than 50 employees can negotiate work rules with an elected colleague, and companies with fewer than 20 employees can negotiate directly with the employees. "Very directly and very frankly", Macron said in an interview with French weekly Le Point published on Wednesday. Only 8 percent said they had "complete confidence" on this issue.



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