France Imposes Widely Despised Anti-Labour Bill by Decree*
By Stephen Lendman
On top of punishing austerity, new rules imposed benefit business exclusively at the expense of worker rights.
They govern layoffs, cap damages for unfair dismissals, and increase the 35-hour workweek at the discretion of employers with minimal pay for overtime.
Since early March, students, other youths and workers rallied against labour law changes proposed by Labour Minister Myriam El Khomri.
President Francois Hollande talks like a leftist, governs like a fascist, entirely beholden to monied interests.
Facing rebellion in his ruling party ranks, he and Prime Minister Manuel Valls rammed through labour law changes by decree – using controversial Constitution Article 49.9 to bypass a parliamentary vote.
After an emergency cabinet meeting, Valls said
“(i)t is my duty to move forward and make sure this text is adopted. I won’t apologize for this.”
“This bill is good for business.” He lied, claiming it’s “good for workers.”
Ruling Socialist Party MP Laurent Baumel called the move “a heavy-handed way of using the constitution to prevent the nation’s representatives from having their say, (fundamentally) anti-democratic.”
Parliamentary opponents gathered signatures ahead of a planned Thursday no-confidence vote – expected to fall short.
Nuit Debout (Night Stand – Rise Up at Night) protesters issued a statement, calling the decree
“an insult to the people of this country…an unprecedented setback for workers’ rights in France, a return to the 19th century.”
Following adoption of the widely despised bill by decree, thousands of protesters rallied in Paris and other French cities. Clashes with police followed.
Crowds outside parliament held signs saying:
“Democracy, where are you?”
Hollande’s government is hugely unpopular. In March, his approval rating hit a record low 17%.
He hasn’t said if he’ll seek re-election next year. His anti-populism makes another term unlikely.