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The French daily newspaper La Tribune is shedding a tear over an episode that, thirty years ago, could have changed the face of the French staffing and labour market and introduced much greater flexibility.
A series of four articles recalls episodes of French social history that shaped the French labour market and the relationship between social partners. The third of four parts focuses on a round of negotiations between trade unions, employer organisations and the government that took place in December 1984 and arguably could have resulted in the first introduction in Europe of a Flexicurity labour market model.
The negotiations had been encouraged by Francois Mitterand’s government who were keen to put the French economy back on track following the chaos of the 1970’s. However, the social partners failed to reach an agreement and the failure of this negotiation had a profound influence on the minds of unions and management over the next three decades. Effectively, it meant that no more ambitious national agreements were discussed until 2013.
The whole article (in French) can be read here.
Interestingly, the fourth and final episode looks at the famous announcement of the 35 hour working week in October 1997.