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French workers oppose labour laws

18 September 2016

Protests in April against French labour law reform. Photo Jules78120 [CC BY-SA 4.0]

Hundreds of thousands of French workers demonstrated in major cities last week against the imposition of new labour laws. Protests againts the "loi travail" have been taking place for the past six months.

The extent of opposition to the new laws forced President Hollande to by-pass the French parliament. In July he introduced the measures by presidential decree. These make it easier for employers to fire workers or made them redundant. Apprentices under the age of 18 can now be forced to work 40 hour weeks and 10 hour shifts.

Statutory payments for unfair dismissal will be reduced and legal protection on collective bargaining has been weakened. Arbitrary decisions on lowering pay will be recognised and companies will find it easier to lay off workers if profits fall.

The EU has not intervened to safeguard any of the “rights” of French workers, who see that they must deal with their own government. People in Britain should learn the lesson too; nothing is guaranteed by EU membership.