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France: employers ready to negotiate on remote working
Planet Labor, 22 September 2020, n°12136 -

On 22 September, Medef, France’s largest employers’ organization, announced it had agreed to open negotiations on remote working. Following six meetings with the social partners that sought to establish a joint diagnosis on the lessons to be learned from recent developments in remote working (c.f. article No.11989) the employers’ organization has finally agreed to a unanimously trade union organisation backed request to negotiate. There is “room for an agreement” the leader of the employers’ delegation suggested at the end of  22 September meeting, which is expected to be conclusive, reported the AFP news agency. The purpose of these negotiations “would be to recall the main principles of the relevant legislation, identify the new questions that need to be asked, and also to shed some light on them”, the Medef leader stated both as an indication that his organization did not intend to carry out an in-depth review of the current regulatory framework and as a warning that the agreement would be “neither prescriptive nor normative”. Indeed the employers’ body holds that the issue should be dealt with at the level of the companies and sectors that are already negotiating on the subject. Trade union expectations are different in so far as for them this is a matter of safeguarding the voluntary nature of remote working, organizing employers’ responsibility for remote working related expenses, and regulating disconnection from work and workloads, etc. Two initial meetings are already scheduled for 03 and 23 November. The joint diagnosis received a favourable opinion from the three trade union organizations: CFDT, CFE-CGC, and FO.