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French president stands by controversial labour reforms


Paris / AFP

French President Francois Hollande said on Tuesday the battle against unemployment was not yet won as he vowed to stick with his controversial attempts to reform the labour market.
The reforms have sparked two months of street protests and led to an unsuccessful attempt to bring down the government. But Hollande said he placed the need to reform over his personal popularity even as he weighs a possible bid for re-election next year.
“I will not give way because too many (previous) governments have backed down,” Hollande said in an hour-long interview with Europe 1 radio.
“I prefer that people have an image of a president who made reforms rather than a president who did nothing,” he said. Truck drivers obstructed roads in western France on Tuesday as a week of strikes kicked off in protest at the package of reforms.
The government argues the changes will make the notoriously rigid labour market more flexible, but which opponents say will erode job security.

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