France faces a hot autumn of discontent over proposed changes to the country’s complex labour laws. While many French voters agree with the viewpoint that the labour market should be more flexible, only a minority go along with President Macron’s package of proposed reforms, unveiled on Thursday, August 31.
According to a survey published by Harris Interactive for RMC and Atlantico on the following day, 58 percent of French voters oppose the labour law reforms, which would make it easier for companies to slim their workforces in times of downturn. Enthusiasts of reform claim that such a move would also make it more likely that companies would hire new staff as the need arose, increasing the country’s competitiveness.
Supporters of President Macron favour the reforms by 82 percent to 18. Across the board, 54 percent of respondents said the reforms will “reduce the power of trade unions in companies”. Interestingly, only 43 percent of those polled think the reform will “improve the competitiveness of enterprises.”
The survey was conducted online on August 31 with a sample of 1,004 people, representative of French people aged 18 and over.
Meanwhile, the more militant French unions are promising protests and ‘days of action’ against the reform, with the first large demonstrations slated for September 12.