French employees in revolt over short hoursOn 30 Sep 2003 in Personnel Today Comments are closed. In a move that supports arguments that the UK should be allowed to continueto opt out from the Working Time Directive, French workers are rejecting thecountry’s 35-hour working week. According to a poll conducted for L’Expansion magazine, employees aregrowing increasingly disaffected over the 35-hour week and are demanding thefreedom to work longer hours. More than 60 per cent of employees think the limit penalises Frenchcompanies, and more than half feel the legislation is encouraging companies torelocate outside France. Thirty-six per cent of French workers want to see a return to theirtraditional working week of 39 hours. The cut to 35 hours was introduced five years ago under socialist premierLionel Jospin. The EU is currently reviewing the UK’s opt-out clause, which allowsemployees to choose to work longer than the 48-hour maximum stipulated by theWorking Time Directive. Mike Emmott, employee relations adviser at the Chartered Institute ofPersonnel and Development, said the cost of limiting the working week inFrance, originally carried by government, was now being passed onto employees. “Some of the financial strain is falling on the employee. They areenjoying the freedom, they are getting time to go to the Alps, but the bill isbeing called in and they can’t square the circle.” However, TUC policy officer Paul Sellers argues that French workers arelucky to have the luxury to debate whether they prefer the 35- or 39-hour week.”The priority [in the UK] is to end the opt-out,” he said.”We need to protect people’s health and safety.” Previous Article Next Article Related posts:No related photos.