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France: Industrial relations

Original and updating author: Mark Carley

Consultant editor: Guillaume Desmoulin, Fromont Briens


  • Employees are free to form trade unions and join unions of their choice, and may not be expelled from a union on discriminatory grounds. (See Trade unions)
  • Sector-level collective agreements exist in almost all industries and there are various rules regarding collective bargaining. (See Collective bargaining)
  • All companies with 11 or more employees must set up a social and economic committee, made up mainly of elected employee representatives, which has various information, consultation and other rights (the social and economic committee replaces the former statutory works council and workforce delegates, which are being phased out over 2018-2019). (See Informing and consulting employees - general)
  • Redundancy information and consultation obligations on employers vary with the scale of planned redundancies. (See Informing and consulting prior to redundancies)
  • Employee representatives have the right to be informed and consulted on changes to the company's economic or legal structure. (See Informing and consulting prior to transfers)
  • "Community-scale" undertakings must, in certain circumstances, establish a body to negotiate with management over the establishment of a European Works Council or an information and consultation procedure. (See European Works Councils)
  • Individuals have a constitutional right to strike, but must exercise it collectively and in accordance with certain rules. (See Industrial action and picketing)
  • Employees are entitled to be represented on the boards of companies, or groups of companies, in certain circumstances. (See Board-level employee representation)