Hollande Cabinet Endorses Plan to Add Flexibility to Labor Rules

President Francois Hollande’s cabinet endorsed plans to revamp France’s job market as Le Figaro newspaper labeled protests against the project a “flop.”

The proposed law is based on a January agreement reached between French business leaders and three unions giving companies the right to reduce working time and salaries when demand slows while also extending medical and unemployment benefits and increasing taxes on short-term contracts.

“This agreement is a win-win for companies faced with difficulties that need to re-organize,” Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault told journalists after the cabinet meeting. “This legislation will preserve jobs.”

Hollande is trying to speed the passage of the law through parliament in an effort to stem a 21 month-long increase in jobless claims and improve the competitiveness of an economy that is teetering on the brink of recession.