Employment and labour market policy under the Hollande presidency: A tragedy in three acts?

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Abstract

This article provides a critical overview of labour and employment policy during the Hollande presidency, evaluating the extent of continuity and change between 2012 and 2017. Although the term of office may be divided into three broad phases, with a shift towards more liberalising, business-friendly policies over time, it is argued that the period as a whole shows a high degree of continuity, with liberalising measures already evident from 2012. The policy output may be characterised as a project of ‘bounded flexibility’ in which marketisation is contained within certain limits as defined by trade unions’ ability to set the agenda of social partner negotiations. However, towards the end of the presidency the push towards labour law reform, whilst falling short of a wholesale revision of France’s protective legislative architecture, ushered in key changes which the Macron presidency intends to take forward and radicalise, leading to a potential ‘tipping point’ of labour market deregulation. The Hollande presidency therefore holds important lessons for our understanding of social democracy at times of economic crisis and austerity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)429-443
JournalModern and Contemporary France
Volume25
Issue number4
Early online date30 Oct 2017
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2017

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