French adopts legislation without vote in parliament
The reform of labor legislation in France received its final approval without parliament voting on Thursday, as the country's government used special constitutional powers to avoid prolonged confrontation with MPs and trade unions.
According to the French press, it was for the third time when French Prime Minister Manuel Valls used Article 49 Part 3 of the French Constitution in the reform discussion according to which the bill is adopted under the government's responsibility, if none of the parliamentary forces nominates no-confidence vote to the Cabinet of Ministers during the next 24 hours.
The ruling Socialist Party of France spoke against the measures and the need to resort to Article 49 Part 3 says of the extremely strained relations between the French President Francois Hollande with his party members.
Labor legislation reform, worked out by Labour Minister Myriam El Khomri, has already led to violent protests in Paris and other French cities as well as large-scale strikes. The participants of street actions were smashing shop windows and parked cars at the side-paths, throwing bottles at police officers while law enforcement officers used tear gas in return. The president's approval rating has fallen to record lows in recent months at a time when the bill was discussed.
The main provisions of the labor law reform included the preservation of the 35-hours working week. However, the companies will be able to make arrangements with the local trade unions about the possibility of increasing or reducing the working week. In each particular case the working week should not exceed 46 hours, except for "exceptional circumstances" where its increase is allowed to 60 hours.
The law facilitates the procedure of wage cuts and dismissals, which are now strictly regulated in France. The government hopes that companies will hire more people in such a way, knowing that it will be easier to fire them in case of an economic downturn.
The employers will be able to come to an agreement on leaves, including maternity leaves and workers' days off. At present these issues are controlled by the central government.
In addition, the law deprives the French trade unions of some powers, allowing non-compliance by companies of industrial agreements with trade union organizations in the case of a collective agreement with a specific company.