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The French Labour Minister Michel Sapin warned of rising unemployment, which he said had already passed the three million mark. Speaking in a radio interview over the weekend, he also announced plans to review employment contracts, in particular those related to temporary and fixed-term assignments.
Although the most recent unemployment data for July shows that the number of jobless in France people was just under three million, Mr Sapin said things have since changed.
“What will next year's unemployment rate be? Nobody knows. We have already hit three million. The numbers you are talking about, which are the numbers for July, are already outdated,” he said.
In July for the 15th month in a row unemployment was up, seeing a significant rise to 2.987 million, a +8.5% increase from a year ago. This is the biggest monthly rise seen since the financial crisis three years ago.
“The question is will it [unemployment] rise by very much? Yes, it will rise. At some point will we be able to reverse it? Yes,” Mr Sapin argued. But he was clear that the country needed to create more jobs to tackle the increasing unemployment rate.
The Minister also said there was a need to review fixed-term employment contracts, which he claimed, had no longer any meaning. “Today, the fixed-term employment contract is not a stable contract, it has no longer any meaning, it has been completely diverted,” he criticised.
Mr Sapin argued that fixed-term contracts and temporary labour contribute to rising insecurity in the labour market and that their use should therefore be cut down to a bare minimum. “We must review it [fixed-term employment contracts] to offer more job security. All this must be addressed by the social partners,” he announced.