Socialist Worker

French government attacks workers’ rights

by Dave Sewell
Issue No. 2442

France’s centre-left government resorted to extraordinary measures to push a new attack on workers through parliament last week.

Economy minister Emmanuel Macron’s “bill for growth” involves over 100 measures to erode workers’ rights to boost bosses’ profits.

These include increasing Sunday working, making it easier to lay off staff and reducing bosses’ obligations to workers when they close down workplaces.

Macron told the media that unemployed people should expect to “fight” to get work.

The law has bitterly divided the Labour-type Socialist Party and its allies. 

So prime minister Manuel Valls used a measure in the French constitution that allows the government to avoid a vote in parliament on a law.

Only a motion of censure that could bring the government down can block it. 

The Tory opposition put forward such a motion, but other than six MPs from the Front de Gauche, none of the government’s left critics voted with them.

Three union federations called a general strike against austerity—including measures in Macron’s bill—on Thursday 9 April. A fourth was considering joining them.

But the biggest federations refuse to come out against the “pact of responsibility” Hollande signed with top bosses in 2013.


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