PARIS: French Socialist Prime Minister Manuel Valls on Tuesday bypassed parliament to force through labour reforms that have sparked four months of strikes and street protests.
“This country is too used to mass unemployment,” Valls told parliament as many members booed and several walked out of the chamber.
He said a “coalition of immobility” had stymied the reforms, which aim at reducing unemployment by freeing up the job market notably by making it easier for employers to hire and fire staff.
It was the second time the embattled government used the so-called 49-3 provision for this package of reforms, as it could not count on the votes of legislators on the Socialist Party’s left flank.
It used the same measure to force a package of economic reforms through parliament last year, also to prevent the rebel left flank of the party from sinking it.
The labour bill now continues on its bicameral shuttle.
It returns to the Senate before its definitive adoption by the lower house on July 22 when Valls is expected to again resort to the 49-3 manoeuvre for the final step.
In the streets meanwhile, protesters staged their 12th show of opposition to the controversial package, seen as too pro-business and a threat to cherished workers’ rights.
However the numbers were down from previous protests.
A Paris protest drew up to 7,500 people according to police and 45,000 according to the hard-line CGT union.
Demonstrations peaked on March 31 at 390,000 people across the country, according to official figures, while the unions claim the figure was 1.2 million.
Unemployment in France stands at a stubborn 10 per cent overall, but for young people the figure is closer to 25 per cent.
Courtesy : Dawn News