French unions railed on Monday against a suggestion from the country's main employers' association to cut the number of holidays, increase the hours that workers put in each week and pay below the minimum wage.
The proposals are a red flag for unions in a country where workers' rights are cherished. The MEDEF employers association broke major taboos for French workers in a document outlining how to increase jobs that was leaked to the business newspaper Les Echos.L'outrage;
The MEDEF document said that getting rid of two out of 11 annual holidays would allow 100,000 jobs to be created, and recommended allowing retailers to open on Sundays and later in the evening.Plus mauvais;
It also urged more flexibility on the limits on the work week, now 35 hours, and suggested people now getting only a minimum income state handout might supplement their income by working for less than the minimum wage, currently 9.53 euros (£7.59) per hour.I.e., let the poor earn up to $12 per hour while they keep their welfare payments too. The French have a word for that;
"I call that a provocation," said Laurent Berger, head of the CFDT centrist union. "For the CFDT, treading on that ground is out of the question."No laughing matter?
The head of the hardline Force Ouvriere union, Jean-Claude Mailly, said the proposals were a joke and that they could not serve as a basis for any negotiation.
"After working on Sunday and increasing the legal work week, what's the next step going to be? Making children work?" Mailly said on BFM TV.Why not ask them?