Workers’ demands ignored as Macron begin labour deregulation

CFDT General Secretary Laurent Berger.

New French President Emmanuel Macron has begun reforming the Labour Code without adopting workers’ demands, according to the national centre of one of BWI’s affiliate, the La Confédération française démocratique du travail (CFDT) in a press release. They say that in refusing to review previous reforms and the proposals of CFDT, the Government has “legitimized the most conservative expectations of employers who do not understand that social dialogue is an asset for the company.”

In months of prior consultation, the CFDT sought to limit deregulation and restrictions on workers’ rights, including on issues of social benefits for health care, temporary work contracts and other areas. While they accept that proposals to further develop bargaining at the company level, they see many issues with the proposals that have been circulated by Government.

Under the new Labour Code, in companies with less than 50 workers, employers may be able to negotiate without a union representative. Where there are less than 20 workers, employers will have an almost unilateral power to conclude agreements and decide working conditions.

“The fine ambitions displayed upstream of the reform were impacted by past-oriented visions that regard trade unions as obstacles to be by-passed as much as possible, and the company as a private property on closed on itself”, the release notes. In contrast, they note that “…the company is indeed a common good, involving power sharing, confronting logic and seeking compromise between employers and workers represented by trade unions, who are the only ones able to build their collective interest and thus balanced social dialogue.”

For the full press statement, please click here.