Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Capable dire; 'nez, meule'?

It's no longer illegal to work in France:

PARIS (AP) -- French lawmakers effectively abolished the country's 35-hour workweek Tuesday by workweek by allowing employers to increase working hours.

The National Assembly approved a government-backed bill permitting employers to negotiate deals with staff to increase working time by 220 hours a year in return for better pay. The vote was 350-135.

The bill clears the way for a gradual dismantling of the 35-hour workweek, a flagship policy of the former Socialist government that was introduced on a voluntary basis in 1998 and made compulsory two years later.

The Socialists said the shorter workweek would reduce soaring unemployment by prompting employers to hire more people. However, it failed to create as many jobs as foreseen, and France's jobless rate now stands at 10 percent.

President Jacques Chirac has criticized the shortened workweek as a ``brake'' on economic development and job creation.


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