France’s President-elect Nicolas Sarkozy has been gauging union opinion over his employment plans, two days before he takes office. His tough talk about getting France back to work has put unions on their guard. Sarkozy’s proposals include effectively scrapping the 35 hour week and ensuring a minimum service during strikes.
One trade union leader, Francois Chereque, told reporters that he had discussed future working practices with Sarkozy who, he said, would come back once he’s sworn in to prepare for social dialogue, as he’d laid out in his election campaign. This initial sounding-out has so far seemed cordial enough, but some analysts are predicting that sooner or later their horns will lock.