France announced on Wednesday it would tap into its strategic oil reserves to make up for shortages caused by strikes at oil depots and refineries.
Some train and metro workers have joined the action to protest proposed changes in the labor code.
Earlier this month, President François Hollande’s Socialist Party government introduced reforms that would make it easier for firm to lay off workers and give small companies more flexibility to negotiate wages and conditions directly with their employees.
Most unions, many of which are affiliated with the Socialist Party, have endorsed the reforms, which were watered down in order to win their support.
Ten Central and Eastern European countries plus Denmark have forced the European Commission to reconsider reforms that would raise wages for workers from those nations if they are employed abroad.
The three Baltic states, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Romania and Slovakia all object to changes in the so-called Posted Workers Directive that would make their workers less competitive.
With the support of Denmark, they meet the eleven-country threshold needed to trigger a “yellow card” procedure. This was introduced in the 2009 Lisbon Treaty to give national parliaments the power to delay European legislation.
The commission is under no obligation to withdraw its proposal, however, which enjoys broad support.
Italian prime minister Matteo Renzi hailed a drop in unemployment the national statistics agency announced on Friday as proof that his reforms are paying off.
But the decrease was hardly inspiring. The eurozone’s third economy added some 90,000 jobs in March, bringing the jobless rate down from 11.6 to 11.4 percent.
Unemployment has been steadily falling since Renzi, a social democrat, took office in early 2014. Labor reforms his government enacted last year do appear to have had an impact. But there is more to be done. Read more “Italy Adds Job But Labor Divide Persists”
French prime minister Manuel Valls unveiled watered-down labor reforms on Monday following resistance from inside his own Socialist Party and its trade union allies to more far-reaching plans.
A proposal to allow small businesses to negotiate longer working hours directly with their workers was dropped as was a cap on the compensation judges can award employees who have been found to be wrongfully dismissed.
Both reforms could have given especially small companies some breathing space when the French economy is barely expanding and unemployment has been stuck at around 10 percent since the Socialists came to power in 2012. Read more “France Waters Down Proposed Labor Reforms”
Labor reforms unveiled by French prime minister Manuel Valls this week shy away from weakening protections cherished by his Socialist Party and its trade union allies, including the country’s 35-hour workweek and indeterminate-term contracts.
“Our principle is to bring more flexibility but not less protection,” Valls said.
His plan tinkers around the edges of the jobs market. It would let firms negotiate working conditions with their employees rather than trade union representatives, for example, and allow them to opt out of some of the thousands of national work regulations that are especially onerous for small companies.
French president François Hollande’s proposed labor reforms don’t go nearly far enough to revitalize a sclerotic jobs market.
Among eighteen measures unveiled on Tuesday to encourage hiring are a €4,000 bonus for entrepreneurs who employ their first worker and extending the period during which companies can employ people on a temporary basis to eighteen months.
Temporary work contracts account for 80 percent of the jobs created in France, where unemployment has remained stuck at around 10 percent since Hollande took office in 2012.