Segolene changes tack, praises 35-hour week

18th December 2006, Comments 0 comments

PARIS , Dec 17, 2006 (AFP) - Leading presidential hopeful Ségolène Royal described France's controversial 35-hour work week — one of the shortest in Europe — as a major step forward Sunday, adding that any revisions to the law must be negotiated with unions.

PARIS , Dec 17, 2006 (AFP) - Leading presidential hopeful Ségolène Royal  described France's controversial 35-hour work week — one of the shortest in Europe — as a major step forward Sunday, adding that any revisions to the law must be negotiated with unions.

"The 35 hours amounts to wonderful social progress, nobody can dispute that," the Socialist party lawmaker said on France 5 television, suggesting she would not fundamentally reform the legislation if elected.

Royal, whose remarks have not always been in synch with her party's platform, cast doubt on the Socialist-inspired, 35-hour week earlier this year, saying it had produced mixed results.

On Sunday, she elaborated, saying one problem lay with "the authorization of supplementary (work) hours."

Any new version of the 35-hour week must be negotiated with unions, she added, scorning current labor dialogues as "backward."

Popularity polls put the 53-year-old politician nearly dead even against conservative Interior Minister and presidential contender Nicolas Sarkozy.

If elected in next spring's vote, Royal would become France's first female president.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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