Wednesday, March 9, 2016

France: National mobilisations against proposed changes to the labour law

Lisbeth Latham
Today there will be strikes and protests across France today against the proposed changes to the Labour Law. The changes were proposed in November by Myriam El Khomri, Minister for Labour,  and were scheduled to go to cabinet for discussion today - however as opposition has grown this date has been shifted to March 25.

Map of March 9 Strikes and Protests
The proposed changes will significantly increase potential work week in France with a standard maximum of 48 hours per week and 60 hours in a week in "exceptional circumstances" (France's 35 hour week would nominally remain in place). The current proposals would also see a reduction in penalty rates and it will be easier for employers to sack workers - with lower compensation in cases of unfair dismissal. The proposed changes are being motivated as a mechanism to combat France's 10.2% unemployment rate.

Today's mobilisations are important as are likely to be the largest mobilisations in France since the declaration of the state of emergency in November - parliament voted on February 16 to extend the state of emergency until May 26. Today's mobilisations have been endorsed by the largest number of union confederations since the election of PS government in 2011.

Further mobilisations against the changes to the labour laws have been called for the end of March.

 
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Revitalising Labour attempts to reflect on efforts to rebuild the labour movement internationally, emphasising the role that left-wing political currents can play in this process. It welcomes contributions on union struggles, internal renewal processes within the labour movement and the struggle against capitalism and imperialism.

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