France: Role of social dialogue in industrial policies

  • Observatory: EurWORK
  • Topic:
  • Published on: 15 september 2014



About
Country:
France
Author:
Institution:

Disclaimer: This information is made available as a service to the public but has not been edited by the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions. The content is the responsibility of the authors.

The impact of social dialogue in French industrial policies is limited. A new consultation body, the National Industry Council, was set up, in 2010, as an ‘industrial parliament’ to advise the Government on policy selection and formulation. Its impact remains unclear, however. Claims for a stronger engagement of the French state in industrial policies are raised by some of the unions, in particular the CFDT. A stronger involvement of unions and employers can be observed in the field of competitiveness through labour market reforms.

Part 1: Overall role and involvement of social partners in industrial policy in the national context

Industrial policy is in this context used in its broader sense as…

those policies that have an impact on the cost, price and innovative competitiveness of industry and individual sectors, such as standardisation or innovation policies, or sectoral policies targeting e.g. the innovation performance of individual sectors.

COM(2010) 614 An Integrated Industrial Policy for the Globalisation Era Putting Competitiveness and Sustainability at Centre Stage. EC 2010

The policy instruments are then defined as the method or mechanism used by government, political parties, business or individuals to achieve a desired effect, through legal or economic means.

Industrial policy initiatives are often undertaken unilaterally by the government but other forms may include social partners in different constellations, including:

  • bipartite initiative (a common approach by the social partners);
  • tripartite initiative (the social partners in tandem with the public authorities);
  • tripartite+ initiative (the three stakeholders in combination sometimes with other civil society players such as NGOs, research centres or qualified figures);
  • public-private partnership initiatives (one social partner and the public authorities); and
  • unilateral initiatives by a single social partner

1. Is there in your country currently a policy framework to stimulate investments that both create economic growth and employment? Tick Yes/No

Table 1

Policy framework

Yes

No

Economic growth

X

 

Employment

X

 

Both economic growth and employment

X

 

Competitiveness

X

 

2. Is there evidence in your country of involvement of social partners in the process of formulating industrial policy interventions? If yes, please indicate which types of involvement:

Table 2

Type of social partner involvement:

… in the formulation of horizontal (cross-sector) interventions

… in the formulation of vertical (sector-, industry- or company-specific) interventions

Sector-specific involvement

Yes/no:

No

Yes/no:

No

Cross-sector involvement

Yes/no:

Yes

Yes/no:

Yes

Bipartite, tripartite, tripartite+, unilateral, public/private partnership?

Please indicate which, if any, of these types apply:

Tripartite

Please indicate which, if any, of these types apply:

Tripartite

3. How have social partners been involved in the industrial policy formulation process?

Table 3
 

Please indicate (X) the extent to which the different types of involvement are used, including whether this involvement is statutory:

Level of government?

Sector focus?

Specific form of social partner involvement:

Statutory/mandatory

Very common/ used in most policy processes but not statutory

Fairly common but not consistently used

Rarely used

Not used at all

National or regional?

Sectoral or cross-sectoral?

Tripartite standing committee

     

X

 

National

Cross-serctoral

Tripartite ad hoc committees

       

X

   

High-level groups or other multi-stakeholder committees involving other stakeholders in addition to social partners

     

X

 

Regional

Cross-sectoral

If multi-stakeholder committees:

Please indicate which types of other stakeholders are (typically) involved:

At regional level, Economic, Social and Environmental Committees (Conseil économique, social et environnemental régional, CESER) assemble various actors of the civil society, including social partners. The committees may issue opinions on issues concerning the regional economic development, but its recommendations are not binding.

Hearings

     

X

 

National

Cross-sectoral

Consultations

     

X

 

National

Cross-sectoral

Conferences

     

X

 

National

Cross-sectoral

Other - please specify below:

             
             

4. Is there evidence in your country of initiatives that follows recommendations and development at EU-level? If yes, please indicate in which sectors:

The CFDT position paper makes reference to the ETUC report cited in the background note.

5. Which types of industrial policy instruments/interventions at different government levels have social partners been involved in? Please indicate degree of involvement

3 = high degree of involvement,

2 = involvement to some extent,

1 = low degree of involvement,

0 = no involvement.

Table 4

Policy instruments:

National level

Regional level

Local level

Public investment programmes:

     

infrastructure

1

1

1

construction

1

1

1

building renovation

1

1

1

other

1

1

1

Innovation programmes

1

1

1

Support for R&D

1

1

1

Cluster promotion

1

1

1

Export promotion

1

1

1

Internationalisation of SMEs

1

1

1

Improvement of access to finance:

     

loan

1

1

1

loan guarantee programmes

1

1

1

venture capital funding

1

1

1

other

1

1

1

Public procurement policies

1

1

1

Tax and duty policies

1

1

1

Adapting the skills base

1

1

1

Subsidies for restructuring/ bail-out of companies in crisis

1

1

1

Social plans in case of restructuring. Training/re-training

1

1

1

Investment incentives

1

1

1

Energy efficiency/ energy shift

1

1

1

Energy supply security

1

1

1

Access to raw materials

1

1

1

Prices of energy and raw materials

1

1

1

Others, please specify below:

     
       

6. Which, if any, positive effect(s) can be related to the involvement of social partners in the industrial policy process in your country?

Table 5

Positive effects

Tick (X) where applicable

Please comment briefly: How did effect manifest itself?

Speed of policy process

   

Robustness of policy initiatives

   

Relevance of policy initiatives

   

Dynamism in the policy process

   

European coordination

   

Ownership of policy initiatives

   

Coherence and coordination of labour market, education, and economic policies

   

Stimulating public-private partnerships

   

Others, please specify below:

   

.

   

7. Which, if any, problems or challenges related to involvement of social partners in the industrial policy process have been encountered in your country?

Table 6

Problems/challenges:

Tick (X) where applicable

Please comment briefly: How did the problem manifest itself?

Increased bureaucracy

   

Lengthy policy processes

   

Lengthy bargaining processes

   

Dilution (circumvention) of parliamentary democracy

   

Problems of establishing accountability

   

Lack of dynamism in the policy process

   

Lack of culture to involve social partners

   

Others, please specify below:

   
   

Part 2: Description of relevant sector examples of social partner involvement

This section aims to identify examples of policies targeting specific sectors and involving social dialogue. Among the industrial policies treated in the previous section in question 5, please select 2-3 examples which represent significant industrial policies in your country and describe the policy instruments used and the contribution of social partners to the shaping of the policy and the outcome of their involvement.

The selection of examples should be guided by the following criteria:

  • importance of the sector to the national economy;
  • level of government support to the industry; and
  • best practice of social dialogue in the country.

Please provide references to key sources.

Example 1

Name of the instrument:

National Industrial Council

La Conférence Nationale de l'Industrie (CNI)

Sector:

Industrial sectors

Type of instrument applied:

(use categories from question 5. Some sector policies may apply more than one instrument

Various

Timing:

(Period of implementation of instrument)

The setup of a National Industry Council was decided in the first half of 2010 and the institution was created in June of the same year (as National Industry Conference). On 5 February 2013, it was renamed to National Industry Council.

Operational level

National

Regional

Local

Please tick the government level and/or provide details of geographical implementation area if relevant:

X

   

Funding:

(Please describe the size of the instrument and detail the source(s) of funding, e.g. EU, state budget, levies, stakeholder contributions, etc.).

The CNI is funded by the state, but no information is available on its annual budget.

Target group(s):

(please describe target group in terms of sector/industry, type of company, geographical criteria and/or other relevant characteristics)

Industrial companies in France

Rationale/motivation for the instrument:

(please describe the problem that the instrument should address – for instance: market failure, need to increase sector competitiveness, crisis intervention, etc.)

The CNI’s role as an “industrial parliament” is to ensure an input of relevant actors on French industrial policies. It is headed by the French Prime Minister, and other Members of Government are invited to attend. Moreover, CNI members represent both capital and labour through their social partners’ organisations. The institution consists of 13 industrial branches (12 before February 2013) that shall develop specialised action plans.

Moreover, the CNI branches are asked to develop investment and innovation programmes, for which the state provides financial means through its “Future Investment” programme and the Public Investment Bank (Banque publique d’investissement, BPI).

Policy stage

Please describe stage of involvement of the social actors i.e.

policy preparation (consultation),

policy decision (co-determination? and

policy implementation (fx. by involvement in agencies)

The National Industry Council provides (non-binding) advice for policy makers.

Objectives of the instrument:

(please describe the objectives and any quantitative targets set for the instrument– e.g.

increased employment by X% in sector Y by 20xx

increase in sector exports by X%

increase in FDI by X%

There are no quantitative objectives fixed for the CNI. Its general activities are described below.

Activities and implementation:

(Please give details on the implementation of the intervention)

In its first (and only) annual report, the CNI identifies nine major fields that require action in order to boost the French industry.

  1. Development of an innovative research and development strategy
  2. Adapt the training system to the need of the industry
  3. Enhance inter-company cooperation
  4. Strengthen industrial Europe through cooperation between countries
  5. Favour the funding and investment in the industrial sectors, in particular in SMEs
  6. Favour the internationalization and export of SMEs
  7. Ensure the provision of energy at a competitive price
  8. Simplification of the bureaucratic processes and a guarantee for legal and fiscal stability
  9. The provision of a tax system that favours investment

The report then develops more detailed measure for each of the industrial branches.

Social partner involvement

 

Type of social partner involvement:

(Bipartite, tripartite, tripartite+, unilateral, public/private partnership? – cf. qu. 1)

Tripartite

Level of involvement of social partners involvement:

European, National, regional, local

Sectoral

National

Specific form of social partner involvement:

(tripartite standing or ad hoc committee, high-level group, hearing, consultation, conferences, etc.? – cf. qu. 2)

Tripartite standing committee

Timing and nature of social partner involvement:

(Please provide more details on the processes that social partners were involved in, their input, the timing, etc.)

The CNI meets at least once a year following an invitation by the Prime Minister. There are additional meetings of the subcommittees organised by industrial branch.

Impact of social partner involvement on design and implementation of instrument:

(Please describe how/if the design and/or implementation was affected through the involvement of social partners)

N/a

Other stakeholders involved, if any:

(please name stakeholders and briefly describe their roles)

None

Results and outcomes

 

Outputs/results:

(Please give details of the outputs/results of the intervention; e.g number of jobs created/retained, number of workers upskilled; wage increases, investment increases, increased co-operation between social partners, etc.)

It is difficult to assess the actual effectiveness of the CNI because it is not clear to what extent its numerous recommendations have been implemented, and to what extent they have been effective.

Assessment of effectiveness:

(Please provide an assessment of the effectiveness of the intervention - were the objectives reached? If possible, base the assessment on evaluation reports or similar)

n/a

Possible explanations for the effectiveness of the instrument:

(Please provide possible explanations for the degree of effectiveness achieved, including the contribution of the social partner involvement; e.g. improved bargaining process? Increased dynamism in the policy process? Other explanations?)

n/a

Assessment of efficiency:

Did the outputs/results measure up to the effort/resources invested? If possible, base the assessment on evaluation reports or similar)

n/a

Possible explanations for the efficiency of the instrument:

(Please provide possible explanations for the degree of efficiency, including the contribution of the social partner involvement)

n/a

Example 2

Name of the instrument:

Industrial policies – assessment and propositions

Politique industrielle : constats et propositions

Sector:

All

Type of instrument applied:

(use categories from question 5. Some sector policies may apply more than one instrument

N/a

Timing:

(Period of implementation of instrument)

Not implemented

Operational level

National

Regional

Local

Please tick the government level and/or provide details of geographical implementation area if relevant:

X

 

X

Funding:

(Please describe the size of the instrument and detail the source(s) of funding, e.g. EU, state budget, levies, stakeholder contributions, etc.).

N/a

Target group(s):

(please describe target group in terms of sector/industry, type of company, geographical criteria and/or other relevant characteristics)

French manufacturers and their auxiliaries

Rationale/motivation for the instrument:

(please describe the problem that the instrument should address – for instance: market failure, need to increase sector competitiveness, crisis intervention, etc.)

The French Democratic Confederation of Labour (Confédération française démocratique du travail, CFDT) presents, in its position paper, an assessment of the current situation of the French industry and makes a number of suggestions for industrial policies. Generally, the union stresses the need for a “new model of sustainable development”. Hence, their position goes beyond what is needed as urgency measures to tackle the direct effects of the crisis, and proposes a new industrial model. The reasons why a new approach is needed are changes in the structure of the economy, in particular as a result of mechanisation of tasks, restructuring, outsourcing and relocation. At the same time, the job profile of modern industrial workers requires more and different levels of skills than previously.

In order to attack these issues, the position paper touches upon six issues that the union confederation identifies as key areas of change.

Governance

At national level, the union claims the need for an extension of existing bodies (CNI, in particular), and a better localisation of investment. The latter can be achieved through public investments that privilege a closer cooperation of strategic actors, for instance between large companies and SMEs or between the instructing and constructing parties. Moreover, governing bodies like the CNI should be implemented at regional level, too. Finally, the CFDT considers it of great importance to implement the anticipation and management of change into company bargaining.

Production

With regards to production, the union claims more stability in industrial policies, which should have a longer focus than the legislative period. Moreover, the paper proposes a management system for the transition of technology, innovation, and human resources.

Consumption

The union suggests that companies offer integrated solutions that combine products and services (“product-service solutions”). This strategy shall help French enterprises to have a competitive advantage over products from low-wage countries, for which it is more difficult to provide the same ‘proximity’.

Adaptation of products to new needs

These new needs include, for instance, the modernisation of housings to meet ecological standards and reduce energy consumption, to ensure the mobility of older people, or the provision of health services at home.

More generally, the CFDT claims stronger investment in research and development and to preserve the human capital of the actual industrial workforce (“collective skills”) through the prevention of mass layoffs and plant closures

Policy stage

Please describe stage of involvement of the social actors i.e.

policy preparation (consultation),

policy decision (co-determination? and

policy implementation (fx. by involvement in agencies)

Position paper

Objectives of the instrument:

(please describe the objectives and any quantitative targets set for the instrument– e.g.

increased employment by X% in sector Y by 20xx

increase in sector exports by X%

increase in FDI by X%

The report does not fix precise objectives

Activities and implementation:

(Please give details on the implementation of the intervention)

Not implemented

Social partner involvement

 

Type of social partner involvement:

(Bipartite, tripartite, tripartite+, unilateral, public/private partnership? – cf. qu. 1)

Unilateral

Level of involvement of social partners involvement:

European, National, regional, local

Sectoral

National

Specific form of social partner involvement:

(tripartite standing or ad hoc committee, high-level group, hearing, consultation, conferences, etc.? – cf. qu. 2)

Ad hoc policy document

Timing and nature of social partner involvement:

(Please provide more details on the processes that social partners were involved in, their input, the timing, etc.)

Sole authorship

Impact of social partner involvement on design and implementation of instrument:

(Please describe how/if the design and/or implementation was affected through the involvement of social partners)

N/a

Other stakeholders involved, if any:

(please name stakeholders and briefly describe their roles)

None

Results and outcomes

 

Outputs/results:

(Please give details of the outputs/results of the intervention; e.g number of jobs created/retained, number of workers upskilled; wage increases, investment increases, increased co-operation between social partners, etc.)

N/a

Assessment of effectiveness:

(Please provide an assessment of the effectiveness of the intervention - were the objectives reached? If possible, base the assessment on evaluation reports or similar)

N/a

Possible explanations for the effectiveness of the instrument:

(Please provide possible explanations for the degree of effectiveness achieved, including the contribution of the social partner involvement; e.g. improved bargaining process? Increased dynamism in the policy process? Other explanations?)

N/a

Assessment of efficiency:

Did the outputs/results measure up to the effort/resources invested? If possible, base the assessment on evaluation reports or similar)

N/a

Possible explanations for the efficiency of the instrument:

(Please provide possible explanations for the degree of efficiency, including the contribution of the social partner involvement)

N/a

Example 3

Name of the instrument:

National interprofessional agreement for a new economic and social model for competiveness, secure employment and career paths (FR1302011I)

Accord national interprofessionnel du 11 janvier 2013 pour un nouveau modèle économique et social au service de la compétitivité des entreprises et de la sécurisation de l’emploi et des parcours professionnels des salaries

Sector:

All

Type of instrument applied:

(use categories from question 5. Some sector policies may apply more than one instrument

Others:

Labour market flexibility

Changes to the social security system

Measures against labour market fragmentation

Changes to company industrial relations

Timing:

(Period of implementation of instrument)

The agreement was concluded on 11 January 2013. The Minister of Labour, Michel Sapin, presented draft legislation based on the social partners’ agreement to the Council of Ministers by 6 March 2013. Thereafter, the first chamber of the national parliament voted in favour of the law in the first reading on 9 April and, after minor changes through the second chamber, the Senate, again in the second and third reading on 20 and 24 April. The Senate adopted the final text on 14 May. The Constitutional Council made further minor changes, and the law was enacted on 14 June and published in the Government’s official journal on 16 June.

Operational level

National

Regional

Local

Please tick the government level and/or provide details of geographical implementation area if relevant:

X

   

Funding:

(Please describe the size of the instrument and detail the source(s) of funding, e.g. EU, state budget, levies, stakeholder contributions, etc.).

Most changes are procedural and might not evoke any direct costs. Some additional expenses might occur to employers for extending their company pension schemes, and eventually to the state due to changes in the unemployment benefit system. On the other hand, public finances may be affected negatively by greater labour market flexibility and, as a consequence, higher dismissal rates and unemployment in times of an economic downturn. In periods of economic growth, the stronger regulation of atypical employment may lead to higher tax revenues.

Target group(s):

(please describe target group in terms of sector/industry, type of company, geographical criteria and/or other relevant characteristics)

All private sector companies and their employees

Rationale/motivation for the instrument:

(please describe the problem that the instrument should address – for instance: market failure, need to increase sector competitiveness, crisis intervention, etc.)

The stated aim of the agreement is to increase the competitiveness of the French economy and to propose a new economic model. Propositions try to combine measures of labour market flexibility, which the employers deemed necessary due to alleged inflexibility of the French labour market, and stronger job security through the limitation of precarious atypical employment and the extension of social security provisions.

Policy stage

Please describe stage of involvement of the social actors i.e.

policy preparation (consultation),

policy decision (co-determination? and

policy implementation (fx. by involvement in agencies)

The social partners conducted an agreement that was then transformed into national legislation (with minor changes).

Objectives of the instrument:

(please describe the objectives and any quantitative targets set for the instrument– e.g.

increased employment by X% in sector Y by 20xx

increase in sector exports by X%

increase in FDI by X%

There are no precise quantitative objectives and the general aims of the reform are discussed in the section on objectives above.

Activities and implementation:

(Please give details on the implementation of the intervention)

The intervention was implemented through legislation, which, in parts, stimulates collective bargaining at sectoral or company level on some of the issues in the agreement (e.g. collective redundancies, company pensions).

Social partner involvement

 

Type of social partner involvement:

(Bipartite, tripartite, tripartite+, unilateral, public/private partnership? – cf. qu. 1)

Bipartite

Level of involvement of social partners involvement:

European, National, regional, local

Sectoral

National

Specific form of social partner involvement:

(tripartite standing or ad hoc committee, high-level group, hearing, consultation, conferences, etc.? – cf. qu. 2)

Ad hoc negotiations

Timing and nature of social partner involvement:

(Please provide more details on the processes that social partners were involved in, their input, the timing, etc.)

Negotiations between social partners started under the former conservative Government in January 2012, but were soon suspended until after the presidential and parliamentary elections in April and June 2012. The newly elected President, François Hollande, revitalised the debate and asked social partners to accelerate their negotiations. The negotiations lead to the agreement on 11 January 2013.

Impact of social partner involvement on design and implementation of instrument:

(Please describe how/if the design and/or implementation was affected through the involvement of social partners)

The agreement was almost completely transposed into legislation.

Other stakeholders involved, if any:

(please name stakeholders and briefly describe their roles)

The French Government, the two chambers of Parliament and the Constitutional Council

Results and outcomes

 

Outputs/results:

(Please give details of the outputs/results of the intervention; e.g number of jobs created/retained, number of workers upskilled; wage increases, investment increases, increased co-operation between social partners, etc.)

New legislation is only in place for a few months and it is too early to make a comprehensive assessment. Advocates of the agreement and the French Government expect that it stimulates the economy.

Opponents of the reform, in particular the General Confederation of Labour (Confédération générale du travail, CGT) and Workers’ Force (Force Ouvrière, FO) who did not sign the agreement, fear that it undermines workers’ rights and increases employers’ flexibility to hire and fire.

Assessment of effectiveness:

(Please provide an assessment of the effectiveness of the intervention - were the objectives reached? If possible, base the assessment on evaluation reports or similar)

N/a

Possible explanations for the effectiveness of the instrument:

(Please provide possible explanations for the degree of effectiveness achieved, including the contribution of the social partner involvement; e.g. improved bargaining process? Increased dynamism in the policy process? Other explanations?)

N/a

Assessment of efficiency:

Did the outputs/results measure up to the effort/resources invested? If possible, base the assessment on evaluation reports or similar)

N/a

Possible explanations for the efficiency of the instrument:

(Please provide possible explanations for the degree of efficiency, including the contribution of the social partner involvement)

N/a

Sebastian Schulze-Marmeling, IRShare

Useful? Interesting? Tell us what you think. Hide comments

Lägg till ny kommentar