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February 04, 2000
Strikes Roil France over Shortened Workweek
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Americans it seems like this could only happen in France, where the meddling influence of bureaucrats is only limited by their imagination. Effective February 1, French workers are now limited to a 35 hour workweek by government edict. And, not too surprising, the new law has just about everybody upset.

Thousands of transportation, postal, television/radio, and hospital workers celebrated the shortened workweek requirement by going on strike or putting on demonstrations. The effect was to snarl subway, bus, and truck transportation across the country, as well as to generally inconvenience millions of other citizens.

The French Socialists came up with the bright idea for the 35 hour work week as a solution to the country's stubborn 10.6% unemployment rate. The idea was to spread the work around. But the reality is that companies are unhappy at having to pay 39 hours work for 35 hours work, and workers are concerned about the work rules and other concessions that were made to companies to get them to go along with the shortened work week.

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