Macron's labour law reform put to the test

France's new government is knuckling down on one of President Macron's key projects: reforming the country's labour law. Among other measures it wants to introduce more flexible employment contracts and simplify co-determination within companies. Is Macron heading in the right direction?

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Le Figaro (FR) /

The mother of all battles has begun

Macron must defend his reform with vigour, Le Figaro urges:

“At least this draft law has the merit of aiming to modernise the existing framework. ... The initiative must be brought to its conclusion without distorting it, however. That calls for a good defence against attacks from the [left-leaning trade union confederation] CGT and above all Jean-Luc Mélenchon, who promised a merciless battle even before the discussions have begun. In addition the - necessary - concessions to the other unions must be well dosed. French social history is full of alleged win-win agreements which in fact undermined our competitiveness. If Emmanuel Macron wants to win the 'mother of all battles', he'll have to start by waging it relentlessly.”

Libération (FR) /

Flexibility must be compensated

One key factor must not be forgotten in the process of liberalising the labour market and making it more flexible, Libération points out:

“It's true that many big countries that are more liberal than France enjoy a better labour market situation. ... In some of these countries - in Scandinavia for example - greater flexibility is offset by better financial compensation and improved training programmes. That's why the term 'flexicurity' is used to describe these systems. The [French] government, however, hasn't said a word about offering the labour sector any major compensations, even if some such steps were among Macron's election promises. ... There's no mistaking the flexibility in his projects, but one looks in vain for the security.”