Even French Socialists want a longer work week, says poll

The 35-hour work week may be in trouble, as French voters and France's new economy minister look to make changes in the policy.

Nearly two thirds of the French believe companies should be allowed exemptions to the country's 35-hour working week if they reach agreements with trade unions, two polls showed on Saturday.

France's new pro-business Economy Minister Emmanuel Macron caused a stir this week - in an interview made before his appointment on Tuesday - for floating the idea as a measure that could help companies gain in confidence and competitiveness.

The comments drew immediate fire from trade unions and the government was quick to stamp out speculation there could be a change in the law.

Introduced by a previous Socialist-led government in 2000 in a bid to redistribute work and create jobs, the 35-hour week is fiercely protected by the French left - despite the fact that many French in reality work much longer hours than that.

Under EU pressure to reform France's economy to make it more business-friendly and lift it out of stagnation, President Francois Hollande's government has introduced modest reforms to the labor market but has stayed clear of changing the 35-hour working week.

An Ifop poll for newspaper Sud Ouest Dimanche showed 65 percent of the French favored allowing companies to change the rules on working time if they have reached an agreement with trade unions representing a majority of workers. Thirty-five percent of those polled opposed the idea.

A separate Odoxa poll for daily Le Parisien and television news channel iTele showed 62 percent support for such tweaks to working time, of which 53 percent of Socialist voters and 77 percent of right-wing voters. However, 57 percent of more left-wing voters opposed such a move.

The same Odoxa poll showed 57 percent of the French - and 71 percent of Socialist voters - believed Macron, a former investment banker and presidential adviser, had "the right profile to tackle France's economic difficulties".

Macron, who helped draw up Hollande's pro-business agenda, replaced leftist Arnaud Montebourg as economy minister in a government reshuffle this week.

Montebourg's removal followed his tirade against Germany's "obsession" with austerity, and angered many on the left wing of the Socialist Party who had been calling for an economic policy U-turn away from budgetary rigor. (Editing by Rosalind Russell)

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.

QR Code to Even French Socialists want a longer work week, says poll
Read this article in
QR Code to Subscription page
Start your subscription today