Raffarin stands firm on reform despite demos

7th February 2005, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Feb 7 (AFP) - French Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin on Monday stood by his bill to reform the 35-hour working week despite a large turnout in weekend protest demonstations.

PARIS, Feb 7 (AFP) - French Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin on Monday stood by his bill to reform the 35-hour working week despite a large turnout in weekend protest demonstations.

"We are in a democracy, and in a democracy I do not despise demonstrations, but I would ask the union leaders not to despise parliament either," he said on France Inter radio.

Hundreds of thousands of people marched in French towns and cities to oppose the changes to the 35-hour week due to be voted through the National Assembly on Tuesday.

Under the proposed law, the number of overtime hours employees can work per year will be increased from 180 to 220. In addition, businesses will be able to sign separate deals with the workforce for even more overtime.

Employees will also be encouraged to "sell back" the compensatory days off that they earn if they work more than 35 hours a week.

The 35-hour week - the shortest in the developed world - was introduced in 1998 by the last Socialist administration.

© AFP

Subject: French News

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