France Mulls Law To Let Strikers Ransack Offices
By SARAH DiLORENZO
PARIS (AP) â¿¿ With its long vacations, short hours and myriad workers' rights, France has a reputation for being a hard place to do business. Now add this to the mix: A law working its way through parliament would grant amnesty to workers who have ransacked their company's offices or threatened their bosses during a labor dispute.
Tensions â¿¿ and even confrontation â¿¿ between unions and management have long been the norm in France. Strikes and protests have periodically paralyzed the country. The country saw a raft of "boss-nappings" in 2009 as companies tried to lay off staff during the first wave of the financial crisis. In 2010, workers opposed to raising the retirement age shut down refineries for weeks, choking transport around France.
The new bill, which was written by senators from the Communist and other far left parties, has sparked debate about whether the country, under the leadership of Socialist President Francois Hollande, is becoming more hostile to business."Business leaders who have been hearing about this ... whatever the size of their business, are dumbfounded," Laurence Parisot, the head of the country's largest business lobby, Medef, told Europe 1 radio after the Senate passed the bill in late February. In the next few weeks, the bill will be taken up by parliament's lower house, the National Assembly, where parties on the left have a substantial majority. The amnesty would apply to people who caused property damage, issued threats or defamed management during a labor or housing dispute over the last six years, and were sentenced to five years in prison or less. Acts that caused physical harm to someone else would not be covered. It's unclear how many people would benefit, but French media reported it could be as few as several dozen. Nonetheless, it sends a worrying signal. As France's neighbors try to get people back to work by enacting deep reforms to make their labor markets more competitive, some economists warn that Europe's second-largest economy risks getting left behind.
Select the service that is right for you!COMPARE ALL SERVICES
- $2.5+ million portfolio
- Large-cap and dividend focus
- Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
- Weekly roundups
Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.
- Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
- Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
- A custom stock screener
- Upgrade/downgrade alerts
- Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
- Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
- Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
- Real Money + Doug Kass Plus 15 more Wall Street Pros
- Intraday commentary & news
- Ultra-actionable trading ideas
- 100+ monthly options trading ideas
- Actionable options commentary & news
- Real-time trading community
- Options TV