The French government has given the go-ahead for Prime Minister Manuel Valls to use a rarely-invoked article of the constitution to bypass parliament and forcibly implement controversial labour reforms.
“Because the country must move forward, the cabinet has authorized me to act on behalf of the government,” Prime Minister Manuel Valls told parliament to loud boos and heckling from someand applause from others.
The decision follows weeks of protests against the proposed reforms, which among other changes seeks to make hiring and firing easier for companies.
The BBC reports:
The proposed reforms, which also include changes to France’s 35-hour working week, have sparked waves of sometimes violent protests across France.
A demonstration outside the National Assembly in Paris has been called by the Nuit Debout (Up All Night) movement later on Tuesday.
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Mr Valls was booed by MPs from the far left and the conservative opposition when he announced the cabinet’s decision to the National Assembly.
“This text, useful for businesses and for workers, faces, I regret, opposition from all sides,” he said.
“My responsibility is to move forward and ensure that this text is adopted.”
The BBC’s Lucy Williamson in Paris says the bill, known as the Khomri law after Labour Minister Myriam El Khomri, has forced a wedge between the governing Socialist party and its left-wing supporters.
The government says relaxing workers’ protection will encourage businesses to hire more people and help to combat chronic unemployment.
President Francois Hollande has said that he will only consider running for re-election next year if he can bring down the jobless rate, which is more than 10%.
The decision to invoke article 49.3 was made after the government failed to reach a compromise on the bill with MPs.
A group of rebels within the Socialist party has refused to support the reforms.
The only way the bill can now be stopped is by a motion of censure – effectively a vote of no confidence – in parliament within 24 hours, a move which would bring down the government.
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