Monday, January 3, 2011

Thirty-Five Hours

Manuel Valls, who already has nailed down the position of the Socialists' rightmost candidate, upped the ante yesterday by calling for a déverrouillage of the Loi Aubry: the 35-hr week. Not quite sure what that means, except that, like the present government, he doesn't quite have the cojones to come right out and call for repeal of the law. Rather, he wants to chip away at its edges. The Right praised him; the Left disowned him; voters yawned.


Anonymous said...

I actually heard him on the radio; interestingly the media don't report the full sentence: he said salaries had to increase but that salary wouldn't increase if people didn't work 1-2 hours more, paid at the regular (increased) rate. Hence, make the 35 hour week "flexible" in exchange for a higher salary.
(The problem is that currently most overtime isn't paid, it's mostly "paid for" in RTT. So the average French weekly workload is about the same as the rest of Europe but the hours over 35h, which should be paid, end up being given away in free time.)

FrédéricLN said...

The first expression was quite strange. The new version is much simpler : increase the weekly work schedule from 35 to 37 or 38 hours. And increase the wages accordingly.

I'm not far from Manuel Valls' suggestion this time.

And making it *simpler at last* would be a huge progress, compared to the un-eatable legal sandwich assembled by laws "RTT", the "TEPA" and others. And, discourage fraud and illegal worktime (which is not a minor issue).

All will shout: socialists who consider the 35 Hours a closed issue (such as retirement at 60!), and government "liberals" (French way) who suggest suppressing any legal barrier (but the European 48-hours ceiling).

But it sounds like common sense.

Nevertheless - where would the State, and the "public service" as a whole (around 45% of GDP) find the money to increase wages by 6 to 8% ?