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Macron's Gov't Kicks Off Labor Reform  06/28 06:17

   PARIS (AP) -- President Emmanuel Macron's government is launching an effort 
to redesign French labor rules, one of the most important and divisive promises 
of his presidency.

   Labor Minister Muriel Penicaud told RTL radio Wednesday the government is 
"moving the rules of the game" in hopes of tackling unemployment, hovering near 
10 percent.

   A draft labor law is being presented at a Cabinet meeting Wednesday, and 
unions fear it strips hard-earned worker protections. The government proposes 
to cap the financial penalty for companies sued for firing employees, and to 
allow businesses more flexibility to define internal working rules.

   The government wants to use a special procedure to pass the measures this 
summer without extended debate in parliament.

   Penicaud, a former director of human resources for food-products 
multinational group Danone, said the reform is "expected by the French, they 
gave a clear signal of need for change" by electing Macron, a pro-free market 

   She insisted the bill could be amended and the government isn't signing 
itself a "blank check." A total of 48 meetings with workers unions and 
employers' organizations are scheduled to discuss the reform, she stressed.

   The CGT union called for a national day of protests and strikes against the 
labor reform on Sept. 12.


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