France: Restructuring of industrial sectors stepped up

The government pursues its strategy to restructure industrial sectors that began in 2014, in an effort to reduce their number and increase their coverage in terms of number of employees.

As part of its plan to reduce the number of industrial sectors ('branches'), the General Directorate of Labour (DGT - Ministry of Labour) announced on 13 November that 179 branches had been identified as 'dead', given that no agreements were signed over the last 20 years. After a first merger of 37 branches in April 2015, the DGT stressed that the National Committee of Collective bargaining (a bipartite body chaired by the Ministry of Labour) has agreed the merger of 35 branches on 23 October. The next step is to merge smaller branches with an existing social dialogue. About 397 of such branches covering less than 5,000 employees have been identified. On 17 December, the Minister of Labour received a report on the restructuring of branches recommending the retention of 100 to 300 branches and summarising the social partners' positions. What is proposed is to keep the branch agreements that cover at least 50,000 employees. This restructuring also has an impact on social partners that are also in the process of merging their organisations. The metalworkers federation of the CFDT (FGMM-CFDT) has integrated into its jewellery branches the employees covered by the collective agreements of the Saint-Claude pipe manufacturer (76 employees) and the comb manufacturer (less than 100 employees).

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