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ORIGINAL FRENCH ARTICLE: Pour l’emploi, c’est toujours la loi du marché

by Adrien Rouchaleou

Law of Market Still Governs Employment

Translated Friday 30 January 2015, by Gene Zbikowski

Whatever Economy Minister Emmanuel Macron or Prime Minister Manuel Valls may say, the so-called law “for economic growth and activity” will revive neither economic activity nor employment. On the contrary, some of its provisions might even destroy jobs.

What purpose does the Macron law serve? According to its official name, it is a law “for economic growth and activity.” To listen to the prime minister, its “aim is to do everything for competitiveness and employment.” Mannuel Valls adds that “This law aims to act on all the levers to facilitate the revival of economic growth, investment, and employment.” Economic activity… Employment… So, are we at last to see the “unemployment curve” turned round?

Then why is Christian Paul, a Socialist deputy and leader of the dissident deputies, condemning “a law which has no lever effect on economic growth and employment,” certain provisions of which are even “toxic for employees”? Well, alack and alas, a glance at the law is disillusioning.

The very word “employment” is scarcely used. In fact, in setting out the purposes of the law, the only measure that is presented as potentially creating jobs is the one that allows mayors to authorize retail shops to open 12 Sundays a year, instead of 5 at present.

But what was one to expect? Anne Perrot, from the very free-trade Mapp economic consultancy firm, was charged with presiding over the committee to evaluate the bill, a position she was given at Emmanuel Macron’s request. Her job basically came down to compiling the effects of such reforms in other countries, where the situation is not the same.

She notes that, in Canada, the opening of retail shops on Sunday supposedly led to “an increase in employment of about 3% in the retail shop sector.” Among our Canadian friends, however, there is no longer any limit on the number of Sundays worked in the retail trade.

Thus Anne Perrot has to point out that “if you want this law to have a positive effect on employment, mayors will have to make intense use of the right to allow shops to open up to 12 Sundays a year.” It’s just a small step from that to calling for unlimited opening on Sundays.

It is undeniable that employees would indeed be needed to work on Sunday in the supermarkets. But in Christian Paul’s opinion, working on Sunday will lead to “at least as many jobs destroyed in the Mom-and-Pop shops as can be created among the large retailers.”

A study by the Research Center for the Study and Observation of Living Conditions (Crédoc) says he’s right. The study estimates that greater Sunday opening of shops will destroy between 6,800 and 16,200 jobs in the Mom-and-Pop shops in the food sector alone. For the other retail shops, the number of jobs that will be lost is said to be 5,400.

At the Economy Ministry, the ministers have not taken the risk of putting a number on the number of jobs they expect to be created. This moreover caused the Council of State to criticize the bill for a “patchy” impact study that has “serious deficiencies.”

Emmanuel Macron has set out an objective for only one measure in the bill: the deregulation of coach transport. According to the minister, this will create 10,000 jobs. According to Anne Perrot, it will be 22,000 jobs. In fact, there’s nothing certain on this point except that rail transport is going to suffer.

All this, without counting the 15,000 jobs that, according to the notaries public [1] will be endangered by deregulation of the notaries public.

[1Countries with a legal system based on Napoleonic law utilize notaries public to perform certain functions that solicitors carry out in English law. – translator’s note.

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