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France — 2010 expected to be the year of disputes over salary increases

19 February 2010

2010 is promising to be a year of high tensions over salaries. Marcel Grignard, Deputy Secretary General of the CFDT union (Confederation Francaise Democratique du Travail), told French daily Le Figaro, "if salary negotiations are successful the best we can hope for is an increase in salary of +1.5% to +2.0%."

According to Human Resources consultants Hewitt Associates, salaries should increase by 2.6%, one of the lowest increases in the last decade. However, energy firm EDF has announced an increase of +4.4%, which has created expectations in the marketplace.

Xavier Lacoste, Director General of staffing firm Altedia (part of Adecco) said "two factors reinforce the current tensions over salary negotiations: the good financial results of the banks, which are starting to pay bonuses again and the uncertainty about the gravity and the duration of the economic crisis. Employers simply don't know how much they can offer employees."

Pierre Ferracci, President of staffing firm Groupe Alpha (part of Sodie Emploi), said "all the hasty announcements about how we are coming out of the crisis give the impression that companies are not doing that badly after all."

Bernard Thibault of the CGT union, meanwhile, demands a gross minimum salary (SMIC) of 1,600 Euro, which would be an increase of 20%.



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