French President Emmanuel Macron’s government is set to unveil Thursday what is intended to be one of his signature economic reforms aimed at creating jobs and underlining his business-friendly credentials.
Before his election in May, the 39-year-old centrist vowed repeatedly to take on the country’s powerful trade unions by overhauling highly protective and rigid labour regulations.
On Thursday, in an announcement that is keenly awaited by both business groups and his leftwing opponents, his government will publish planned changes that are set to be approved by parliament in September.
The measures are expected to curb the power of unions, limit severance pay and allow bosses to negotiate many working terms and conditions directly with their employees.
In an interview published on the eve of the announcement, Macron said the overhaul had to be “ambitious and efficient enough to continue to bring down mass unemployment”.
“We are the only major economy in the European Union that has not defeated mass unemployment for more than three decades,” he told Le Point magazine.
Thursday’s unveiling is a crucial test for Macron’s domestic agenda as he seeks to encourage entrepreneurship in France, where the unemployment rate of 9.5 percent is almost double that of its large European rivals.
He warned last week that the French “hated reforms” and tried to avoid them as long as possible.