French PM forces labour reforms through parliament
A deeply divisive labour Bill has been definitively adopted by the French Parliament after the government used a special measure to force it through without a vote.
Prime Minister Manuel Valls argued to the lower house of parliament that the Bill, which makes lay-offs easier and extends the working week, is necessary to create jobs and make the economy more globally competitive.
He used the special measure because there appeared no chance of parliamentary agreement on the reforms.
The Bill has sparked months of violent clashes between police and leftist protesters who accuse the government of trampling on democracy and dismantling hard-won worker protections.
Conservative critics say the Bill does not go far enough.
Conservatives are already hoping to push for a tougher Bill if they gain power in presidential and legislative elections next year.
"The future of work will be the heart of 2017," Christian Paul of the opposition Republicans party tweeted.
With the country still reeling from the attack in Nice last week, there were no public protests on Wednesday around the labour law.
French President Francois Hollande has been trying throughout his term to reduce unemployment, which has stayed at around the 10% mark.