EADS boss for easing of French 35-hour week

2nd July 2004, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, July 1 (AFP) - The co-president of the European Aeronautic Space and Defence Group (EADS), Philippe Camus, weighed into a debate Thursday over France's 35-hour working week, calling for greater flexibility in the policy.

PARIS, July 1 (AFP) - The co-president of the European Aeronautic Space and Defence Group (EADS), Philippe Camus, weighed into a debate Thursday over France's 35-hour working week, calling for greater flexibility in the policy.

"The regulations on the 35-hour work week have widened the gulf between France and the United States, its main competitor, in terms of hours worked.

"This law must be softened because it has amputated recent productivity gains and immobilises young cadres and engineers," Camus said during a meeting of an association for the French aeronautics and space industries.

He also threatened to move EADS operations abroad and asked for increased state financial aid.

His comments coincide with an offensive by France's centre-right government on the 35-hour working week introduced by the previous Socialist administration in 1998.

In France the 35-hour week was designed to encourage employment by sharing out the existing work among more people, with companies compensated for their longer pay-rolls by more flexible rostering, lower social charges and a promise of wage restraint from unions.

But many economists say that while the reduction in working time yielded between 200,000 and 300,000 new jobs, many of these would have been created anyway as a result of the country's strong economic performance in the late 1990s.

In late 2002, Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin's majority in the National Assembly made the law more flexible by voting through an increase in the number of permissible overtime hours. But many centre-right deputies believe more action is required to undo the measure completely.

 

© AFP

 

Subject: French news

 

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