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France to scale back employment laws by early 2016

The French government plans to scale back the country's employment laws by early next year as part of plans to boost growth, according to reports. 14 Sep 2015

French prime minister Manuel Valls told a press conference in Paris that he supported a report recommending that more employment rules should be created through negotiations between unions and employers, rather than by central policy, Bloomberg said.

"This is an essential reform and it shows our determination," Valls said, according to Bloomberg. "Our culture and our negotiating practices are changing."

The author of the report, Jean-Denis Combrexelle, told Bloomberg that the next stage of reforms should reduce the role of France's labour code to a set of principles. The details would be left to company-by-company negotiations, the news site said.

"We can’t imagine that a top-down system can decide for 16 million employees," Combrexelle said, according to the report. "It’s not possible."

The CGT, France’s largest union, said in a statement that the labour code is the "minimum core" of workers’ rights "and must remain applicable to all", Bloomberg said.

In a speech at the Socialist Party's annual conference in La Rochelle last week, Valls said that France's work code is "so complex that it has become inefficient: curbed activity; wage earners who no longer know their rights".

Employers, employees and their representatives all need "more latitude" to decide things for themselves, Valls said at the time.

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