Hollande’s Labor Reform Clears Final Parliamentary Hurdle

  • Valls uses special power to bypass chamber for third time
  • Hollande’s government at odds with its Socialist lawmakers

President Francois Hollande’s labor law reform passed its final parliamentary hurdle after the government used special constitutional powers to push the bill through the legislature in the face of sustained opposition from his own Socialist lawmakers and labor unions.

Prime Minister Manuel Valls used article 49-3 of the constitution to avoid a vote -- the third time he’ll have used the special power during the bill’s passage through parliament.

The new labor regulations will allow businesses to increase working hours with minimal compensation, cap severance pay and make it simpler for companies to eliminate jobs. Hollande, who considers the law a cornerstone of his efforts to cut unemployment, called on the government to enact the law through decrees as quickly as possible.

The recourse to the emergency power showed the degree of tension between Hollande and his own party. Controversy about the law has dominated headlines for months, obscuring the strengthening economy and sending the president’s approval rating to a record low.

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