How French press reacted to Macron's plans for labour law reform


Right-wing papers hail Macron's flagship reforms as major advance while publications on the Left say plans will drag France back 30 years. 

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It’s back to gritty politics this morning, as French newspapers react to the government’s labour reforms, which were unveiled yesterday, reports RFI.

The bill would be the most significant in the last 30 years, as it chips away at trade unions’ monopoly over negotiations within companies.

The law aims to give employers more say on issues of working hours and pay, based on a simplified negotiation process with employees, especially in small companies without union representatives.

Another key measure is a redefinition of “redundancy on economic grounds”, which a company would now be able to invoke based on their national performance, rather than their global profits only.

The bill is a central pillar of Emmanuel Macron’s presidency.

He says the changes will encourage companies to employ people by making it easier for them to adapt to “market conditions”, which can mean firing people.

Le Figaro is rather triumphant.

“His hand hasn’t shaken!” it says. “Macron promised a vast reform of the Labour Code and he’s off to a good start.”

The conservative paper says that most of the measures aren’t spectacular but they are necessary to pull France out if the mass unemployment it has been stuck in.

The paper is rather confident Macron will succeed, too.

“Where can the danger come from?” it asks. “The left is dying, and has little weight.”

The right would not be well placed to oppose a reform that it has always wanted to carry out itself, without ever daring to do so.

There’s always Jean-Luc Mélenchon and his hard-left France Unbowed party.

He’ll be trying to stir up street protests alongside leftist unions.

But most French people are generally in favour of the reform, according to Le Figaro.

Libération has quite a different take.

The left-wing paper sees the bill as one big gift to company owners.

“To be able to renegotiate salaries and working hours without any interference by the unions […] Does anyone really believe that such measures are progressive?” Libération asks.

According to Libération, it’s quite the opposite.

It says that the bill will just drag France 30 years back in time.

In some areas more flexibility is necessary, it concedes, but in others workers should be given more protection, following a logic of give and take.

But all of that is missing from the law, according to Libération.

Read more of this report from RFI.

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