How do you fix the French economy?
Reform employment laws.
Or at least that’s one of the solutions that new French President Emmanuel Macron is proposing.
Tell me more
In a nutshell, the reforms want to give control of setting worker pay and a bunch of other conditions from industry to employers. It’ll also be easier to hire and fire, caps will be introduced on unfair dismissal cases, and union power will be weakened. Red tape as a whole will be cut.
In summary, it’s a plan to inject free market thinking into France’s economy and reduce the unemployment rate, even if the jobs created aren’t that great.
Macron needs to show that all his talk of reform on the campaign trail wasn’t just sound bites but will actually be fulfilled. If he fails, it’ll not only make him appear weak right at the start of his presidency but it’ll diminish the international confidence the French economy so badly needs right now.
And the guy’s got bags of confidence: his predecessor Francois Hollande tried to implement weaker reforms but was stopped by stiff union opposition.
That opposition hasn’t gone anywhere
The big CGT union has planned protests and so has Melenchon, a contender for the presidency. Both are predicted to be well attended. These were the type of actors who forced President Jacques Chirac to soften his labour reforms in 1995. The markets hope it will be different this time.