French government survives no-confidence vote over labor law


French Prime Minister Manuel Valls delivers a speech during the labor law debate at the national assembly in Paris, , May 12, 2016. (AP photo)

The government of French Prime Minister Manuel Valls has survived a parliament no-confidence vote staged by controversial labor reforms.
On Thursday, some 246 lawmakers in the lower house of parliament voted in favor of the bill, below the minimum of 288 votes required for the no-confidence motion to bring down the government.
The contested labor reform will now be debated at the Senate but it still faces several major hurdles before it is adopted.
If adopted, the new law will affect the power of labor unions, the rules on firing staff, and the length of the working week as it includes longer workdays, easier layoffs and weaker unions.
The French premier has backed his government’s labor reform law, saying he is proud of the legislation because it will help “social progress” and it is an “indispensable reform” in a globalized world.
French President Francois Hollande has also backed the legislation, saying the government’s labor reform aims to protect workers’ rights.
He has also insisted that the reform wouldn’t put at risk workers’ protection legislation.
Meanwhile, Christian Jacob, the head of the opposition conservatives in the lower house of parliament, criticized the legislation as “empty”, arguing that it will fail to open up the country’s economy.

A masked demonstrator throws a tear gas canister during a clash with police, after a demonstration in Marseille, southern France, May 12, 2016. (AP photo)

Thousands of angry protesters have held fresh nationwide demonstrations called by workers unions against the government’s decision.
More street protests and strikes are also planned next week.

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