L'Humanité in English
Translation of selective papers from the french daily newspaper l'Humanité
decorHome > Economy > Against the flow

EditorialWorldPoliticsEconomySocietyCultureScience & TechnologySportInternational Communist and Labor Press"Tribune libre"Comment and OpinionBlogsLinks
About France, read also
decorPierre Laurent: "Faced with these attacks, let us stand together for freedom, equality, fraternity and peace." decorFrançois Hollande: “This is an act of war’ decorMathieu Énard’s {Compass}, Winner Of the 2015 Prix Goncourt, Points East decorMurder Without a Body decorClimate. The southern hemisphere challenged by the greed of the north decorMarine Le Pen cheats the European Parliament decor"France in Common" in a World in Common and Socialist China decorAccess to justice for the most deprived in jeopardy decorTax Evasion Costs France Between 40 and 60 Billion Euros Per Year decorAnd the Syrian People? decorPeople of the left decorThe Sages shut their eyes to the proletarianisation of detainees
About World, read also
decor“Universal access to water has given way to economic interest” decorIran: end of economic sanctions as the nuclear accord comes into effect decorAt the end of 2015 the figures are astounding: decorChoose between capitalism and the climate decorFrancis. "Humankind should renounce the idolatry of money and must focus on people" decorJim Campbell : "It is high time to stop viewing public health as nothing but expense: it is an economic motor" decorPlanet: how to feed all the people whilst respecting the climate? decorAuschwitz, Hiroshima, Sétif: these three paths of horror did not interrelate… decorArtificial rain: miracle cure or sorcerer’s trick? decorArmaments: The spectre of Terminator unsettles NATO and the scientific community decorGrowing inequality in developed countries decorMust we put a price on nature?


by Jean-Emmanuel Ducoin

Against the flow

Translated Saturday 24 October 2015, by Adrian Jordan

All recent credible studies have shown that the sole reform that created large-scale employment in France, in the last thirty years, was undoubtedly the shortening of the working week.

Amid the “roars of the social battle being waged at the front”, as termed by Pierre Bourdieu, there are times when ideas that go against the flow have a universal value and elevate democracy. Thus is the case of the debate, which surfaced at start of .the post-industrial age, on shortening the working week. For several years, the mere mention of the subject as a possible way to reform the working environment and division of labour, would have earnt you the strongest reproach. You would have been instantly classified as a utopian relic and charged with heresy in the world of performance and competitiveness in which we live... But for the simple fact that all recent credible studies, like the one conducted by socialist deputy Barbara Romagnan, have shown that the sole reform which created large-scale employment in France in the last thirty years, is undoubtedly the shortening of the working week. Whether or not it pleases worshipers of current liberalism, whether they be on the right or pseudo-left, the move from a 39 to a 35 hour working week directly facilitated the creation of 350,000 jobs.

For months, despite the indifference and scorn of media and dominant communications channels, the CGT union has had the visionary courage and determination to lobby for a 32 hour week, knowing that French workers still effectively work an average of 39.2 hours per week. While mounting social incertitude has reached unprecedented levels (15 percent of workers are forced to accept part-time hours), while it seems as though hyper-automation of tasks between now and 2025 could destroy millions of jobs in every sector of activity, courage lies in holding on to the option of a society which is radically different. Technological progress will not stop and will allow people to be freed from laborious and repetitive tasks, so they may focus on innovation and creativity and not necessarily lead to the destruction of people’s employability and to their debasement. So that this future does not become an employer created social hell, it is essential we move to reduced working hours. It is a key issue for civilisation, nothing more, nothing less.

Follow site activity RSS 2.0 | Site Map | Translators’ zone | SPIP