By Leigh Thomas and Ingrid Melander PARIS (Reuters) – French President Emmanuel Macron’s government announced reforms to loosen labor regulations and drive down unemployment, drawing criticism from unions but limited support for the street protests that have hindered previous reform bids. After weeks of negotiations with unions over the summer, the centrist government revealed measures including a cap on payouts for dismissals adjudged unfair and greater freedom to hire and fire. The plan would also give companies more flexibility to adapt pay and working hours to market conditions. The labor code reform is the first big test of Macron’s drive to re-shape the euro zone’s second biggest economy with its near double-digit jobless rate, double that in Britain and markedly higher than Germany. He also seeks a “grand bargain” with Germany over broader reforms of the euro zone. For decades, governments of the left and right have tried to reform France’s strict labor rules, but have always diluted them in the face of street protests. The reform makes no direct reference to France’s 35-hour week but gives employers more flexibility to negotiate deals with employees to work around it. Labour Minister Muriel Penicaud described the five decrees laying out the… Read full this story
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