The idea was that with Manuel Valls at the helm as prime minister there would be no more political clangers from the French government. But the calamitous handling of the executive's planned workplace law reforms proves otherwise. This proposed legislation on “new protections for businesses and employees”, to give it its official name, was supposed to be the most ambitious reform of the end of President François Hollande's five-year term of office that terminates in 2017. The president himself sees it as a first step in a “new social model”.
Yet within the space of ten days the whole legislative edifice collapsed into a political heap. First of all the prime minister twisted the arm of employment minister Myriam El Khomri, in charge of negotiations with the various social parties involved, to suggest that the government would be prepared to force the bill through Parliament; and this before other government ministers had even seen the text. Parliamentarians, members of the public and trade unionists then discovered than within the text itself were plans to make employment more flexible in a way that would delight the liberal Right. Since then the protests have grown in scale with the announcement of a spontaneous strike on March 9th, an appeal for students to take to the streets and the massive success of an online petition that has attracted around 900,000 signatures opposing the bill.
Since January 7, 2023 our colleague and friend Mortaza Behboudi has been imprisoned in Afghanistan, in the Taliban prisons.
We do not forget him and call for his release.