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35-hour week claims denied

The author of an official report on competitivity denies claims he will recommend ending the fixed 35-hour working week

A FORMER big business boss tasked with a report on boosting competitivity of French businesses denies he will advise jettisoning the fixed 35-hour week.

French daily paper Le Parisien said several sources told them Louis Gallois, a former business chief and top civil servant tasked with the report by the prime minister, will advise complete removal of a fixed number of working hours. The report is to be submitted on November 5.

Instead, the sources claimed, similar to the situation in Germany, it is suggested there should be an à la carte system with working time negotiated business by business with unions and bosses.

However the claims have been denied by Mr Gallois’s office. They said in a statement that: “The information in Le Parisien concerning a possible stance of Louis Gallois on the 35-hours, is incorrect.”

Mr Gallois, a former head of aeronautics group EADS, has consulted widely for the report, especially among fellow businessmen.

The 35-hour week was put in place in 1998 under Socialist Lionel Jospin, bringing the figure down from a previous 39. Le Parisien said ending it would be a “mini-revolution” which was widely sought on the right with claims that it is a brake on French growth and competitivity.

It could potentially be embarrassing for President Hollande if he is seen as taking a “right-wing” stance; however he has stated his wish to use Gallois’s conclusions to boost growth.

Photo: Medef

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