France -35 hour week is not the problem -June 02, 2015

Health service workers protest against changes to the 35-hour working week.

French health service workers have taken to the streets in recent days to protest against changes to the 35-hour working week, viewed outside France as totemic of the country’s rigid employment laws. But that overlooks the fact that France’s hourly production figures are higher than Britain’s or Germany’s. The law on the 35 hour that was introduced in 2000 was aimed at increasing employment: the thinking was that if weekly hours were reduced, companies would have to engage more staff. Economists still disagree on whether this actually happened. However, official figures show the law created 350,000 new jobs.

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For more information, please contact the editor Jan Cremers, Amsterdam Institute for Advanced Labour Studies (AIAS) or the communications officer at the ETUI, Mariya Nikolova For previous issues of the Collective bargaining newsletter please visit You may find further information on the ETUI at, and on the AIAS at

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