French unions, employers reach deal on labor rules

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Associated Press

Posted on January 11, 2013 at 6:33 PM

PARIS (AP) — French unions and business leaders have agreed to loosen up some labor protections after months of negotiations seen as key to reviving the country's economy.

President Francois Hollande hailed the agreement Friday night and ordered his government to turn it into a draft law.

But it's unclear whether the measures agreed upon will be enough to bring down 10 percent unemployment.

France's leading employers' group, Medef, said the agreement will make it easier and faster for companies to scale back staff during a downturn.

It will also make it more expensive for employers to string workers on successive temporary contracts instead of offering a long-term job.

The government had championed the negotiations, arguing that the cost and complication of hiring in France is hurting its global competitiveness.

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