French PM backtracks on scrapping 35-hour week
PARIS (AFP) - French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault stirred up a hornet's nest on Tuesday when he called for the scrapping of the 35-hour week, a landmark economic experiment adopted by a previous socialist government, before hastily backtracking.
The gaffe-prone premier startled the French by saying the once untouchable 35-hour working week may be reconsidered as France battles to boost competitiveness and kickstart its struggling economy.
His comments came after Socialist President Francois Hollande, facing the heat from France's top companies over his economic policies, met the heads of global financial institutions in Paris to discuss the moribund global economy and ways to spur growth.
"Why not? There is no taboo," Mr Ayrault said in a chat with readers of Le Parisien newspaper when asked if he would consider reverting to a 39-hour week.