Sarkozy to make pre-election push on labor reform

January 18, 2012 01:50

PARIS - French President Nicolas Sarkozy will push union leaders on Wednesday to accept an overhaul of labor rules, promising quick fixes for unemployment as he faces re-election, but one union official ruled out any "impulsive measures" before the vote.

As the euro debt crisis strips France of its prized AAA credit rating and pushes the economy to the brink of recession, Sarkozy is presenting his "crisis social summit" with business and union leaders as a chance to tackle high unemployment.

Unions, however, are refusing to be rushed into reforms to help his chances in the presidential elections to be held in April and May. This has weakened the prospects of a frank discussion on areas economists see as ripe for reform, ranging from restrictive labour laws to the 35-hour work week and the role unions play in pay negotiations.

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