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Medef proposals are ‘provocation’

Unions have slammed a list of proposals for job-creation that includes removing some bank holidays or the minimum wage

REMOVING bank holidays, abolishing the minimum wage and the 35-hour week... a list of proposals for relaunching the economy by bosses’ organisation Medef has been called a “provocation” by unionists.

Medef has drawn up a list of ideas which it believes could help create a million jobs, saying: “We are convinced that we’ve not tried everything to combat unemployment; we’ve just tried things that haven’t worked anywhere and forgotten about things that have worked everywhere.”

Notably, Medef says there are too many “brakes” on businesses, which need to be removed.

For example it suggests axing two bank holidays and freeing up firms up from rules on minimum wage and working hours especially with regard to taking on “populations who are the furthest away from employment” (eg. lacking qualifications or long-term unemployed).

It also wants seuils sociaux (social thresholds) to be raised. This refers to cut-off points in employee numbers at which firms have to take on new responsibilities in terms of employee rights – e.g. firms with more than 10 employees need to have someone elected as the employees’ representative with hours set aside for related tasks.

The proposals are meant to be unveiled officially on Wednesday, but have been leaked in the press. Medef admits in its proposals document that the ideas may be controversial but says it wants to “spark debate”.

The leader of the CFDT union, Laurent Berger, said on RTL radio the suggestions were a provocation and that “when it comes to the content of the suggestions, as far as we’re concerned we’re not going there; it’s out of the question”.

He added that it was “doubly provocative” because only last week the unions and employers’ organisations held discussions on improving the way they negotiate and on issues like work for the young and for the long-term unemployed and Medef said nothing about these ideas.

Photo: Medef head Pierre Gattaz – Le Journal du Dimanche/Wikimedia Commons

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