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BBC: Rising star of French left breaks another party taboo

Ségolène Royal, the rising star of France's opposition Socialists, yesterday caused renewed turmoil on the left when she broke one of the party's taboos by criticising the country's mandatory 35-hour working week.

Following hard on the heels of her explosive comments last week calling for a tougher stance on law and order, Ms Royal accused the 35-hour week of eroding the rights of the country's weakest workers.

The call is the latest step in Ms Royal's attempt to build a defining platform for her bid for the Socialists' nomination for next year's presidential election by offering a break with traditional party ideology.

Writing on her campaign website, Desires for the Future, Ms Royal said the 35-hour week had resulted in a "spectacular easing" of France's labour law, which meant executives could enjoy days off while those lower down worked less sociable but more flexible hours. "The proportion of workers on flexible hours has gone from 10 to 40 per cent," she said, more than their counterparts in the US.

by Fran on Tue Jun 6th, 2006 at 12:30:25 AM EST
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