France's government forced to delay contested labour reform

PARIS – France’s government has decided to delay for two more weeks the presentation of a contested labour reform that would dilute the 35-hour workweek.

The proposed bill is aimed at easing some of France’s stringent labour rules in the hope of boosting hiring.

Facing strong opposition from all major unions, the government decided to wait until March 24 to present its plan in the hope of finding compromises.

Prime Minister Manuel Valls said Monday: “We must clear any misunderstanding. We must explain, respond to the false information about this text.”

The proposed bill formally maintains the 35-hour workweek as a general principle. Yet it would allow companies to organize alternative working times, including a workweek of up to 48 hours and 12-hour days.