France’s labour reforms: Pro-business or pro-worker?

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France has been gripped by a wave of nationwide strikes and protests as enraged unions, students and workers take to the streets against a new and unpopular labour reforms bill.

The eurozone’s second-largest economy has been struggling to reduce its record-high unemployment rate, which stands at 10.6 percent, and President Francois Hollande’s socialist government has been pushing for legislation that will overhaul the labour market and make the country more competitive.

But the proposal has been denounced as being too pro-business and threatening workers’ rights.

Named after Labour Minister Myriam el-Khomri, the el-Khomri draft law aims to make it easier for companies to increase working hours beyond the current 35-hour working week and enable companies to justify layoffs by citing “economic” reasons such as falling sales or operating losses.

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