Monday, April 30, 2007

Les Miserables

They're number one at it: the category of "co-operation in labour-employer relations" - that is, how workers get on with their bosses - France comes bottom of the league, in 125th place.

Whereas countries such as Denmark and Singapore score highly for their "generally co-operative" relations, France is seen by the [World Economic Forum] as having the most confrontational workplace environment in the world.

...."The class conflict view of things is very traditional in France," says economist Fabien Postel-Vinay. "Trade unions have been given a lot of bargaining power and they push this idea that there is a conflict of interest between employers and employees."

Pay and conditions in France are covered by a highly-centralised system of collective bargaining.

The proportion of the workforce that actually belongs to a trade union is less than 10%.

However, thanks to a government decree dating from 1966, five big union confederations bargain on behalf of 95% of workers.

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