Chapter 6: Reforms and new challenges for work and employment in France: Social dialogue under pressure
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The chapter shows the evolutions of social dialogue in France until the COVID crisis and the general trend towards a more decentralized bargaining (in a maintained multi-level system), enabling more flexibility at the company level. Although their impact on the quality of social dialogue from both firms’ and workers’ point of view is difficult to evaluate, there are some signs of a more dynamic and sometimes innovative company level social dialogue. New issues have also been addressed, in relationship with digitalization, such as the right to disconnect, or teleworking.  There are also interesting efforts to include and represent platform workers, even though nothing has been transposed into law yet. However, social partners, and especially unions, remain quite fragile, as a consequence of a low unionization rate (especially among younger workers), of their division, but also of mixed workers’ perceptions. Workers’ participation might also be limited by some discrimination against unionized workers or more generally employee representatives. In this context of significant challenges, the issue of the attractiveness of trade unions to workers (and their acceptability to employers), as well as their public perception, appear to be a key issue for the future, together with the issue of the quality of social dialogue and its capacity to deal with labour market transformations related to digitalization and more generally innovation.

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