Macron government reveals French labour reforms

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EPA

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President Macron’s popularity has plummeted in the past few weeks

When centrist Emmanuel Macron was swept to power in presidential elections last May, his big platform was a reform of France’s rigid labour laws.

But his popularity has since waned, and the measures to be revealed on Thursday will be a big test for his presidency.

He is facing mass protests next month, although one of the biggest unions has decided it will not take part.

The leader of Force Ouvrière (FO) praised the government’s “real consultation” and “social dialogue”.

Jean-Claude Mailly argued that the Macron team had backed away from “ultraliberal” reforms, justifying his union’s decision not to take part in a day of street demonstrations on 12 September.

France’s biggest private sector union, the CFDT, is also seen as unlikely to join the protests, which are being spearheaded by the far-left CGT. Further demonstrations are promised by far-left leader Jean-Luc Mélenchon on 23 September.

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Getty Images

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Jean-Luc Mélenchon (2nd L) has vowed to challenge the Macron reforms

Mr Macron wants to free up the French economy by making it easier for employers to hire and fire staff, and negotiate working conditions.

An earlier attempt to modernise France’s labour laws by François Hollande’s Socialist government largely failed in the face of left-wing opposition. However, Mr Macron has already won parliamentary backing to push these reforms through by decree.

The package of around 60 measures, to be detailed in a 200-page document,…

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