Vive la Liberte! Even France Liberalizing Its Labor Laws

It may not be enough to make Lafayette proud, but it’s good news all the same. The New York Times reports:

French labor unions and business leaders struck a deal on Friday to overhaul swaths of France’s notoriously rigid labor market, moving to tame some of the most confounding rules in the 3,200-page labor code as the country tries to increase its competitiveness and curb unemployment.

Representatives from three of the five powerful unions at the negotiating table, the Christian CFTC union, CFDT union, and the CFE-CGC union, all expressed confidence that their organizations would approve the reform deal (the two holdouts, the notoriously radical CGT and FO unions, refuse to sign on), which includes real, substantive changes, including, “…giving employers more flexibility to reduce working hours in times of economic distress without incurring union strikes.” In addition:

High levels of compensation that courts can award to laid-off workers would be trimmed. The five-year period that former employees now have to contest layoffs would be reduced, a shift that Medef, France’s employers’ union, said would ‘reduce the fear of hiring’ by businesses.