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France's government to present controversial labor reform

French high school and university students take part in a demonstration against the labour reform bill proposal in Paris, France, March 17, 2016 as part of a nationwide labor reform protest. The slogan reads "El Khomri, you don't get our social rights". REUTERS/Benoit Tessier

PARIS: France's Socialist government is due to formally present a contested labor reform that aims to amend the 35-hour workweek and relax other labor rules.

The bill is to be detailed Thursday at a Cabinet meeting. Student organizations and some worker unions have called on a day of street protests across France.

The government and businesses claim the changes would help boost the economy by making it easier for companies to hire and fire workers. France's unemployment rate is hovering at 10 percent.

The protesters say the bill would badly damage employees' rights.

The proposal technically maintains the 35-hour workweek, but allows companies to organize alternative working times without following industry-wide deals. Workers would be able to put in a 48-hour workweek or 12-hour shifts.

 

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