Over union opposition, French Socialists push through law on relatively modest economic reform

Economic Indicators Associated Press

France's Socialist government has cleared a final legislative hurdle on an economic reform bill that will make layoffs easier and let stores stay open more often to boost job creation and growth.

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The relatively modest reform bill became law Friday after the prime minister applied a rarely used measure to bypass a parliamentary vote. The law's champion was Finance Minister Emmanuel Macron, a former investment banker bent on reviving France's stagnant economy.

Traditionally pro-Socialist labor groups opposed the plan to dilute France's famously stringent workplace protections, while conservative critics say it doesn't go far enough.

Among other things, the law will allow stores to open 12 times a year on Sunday instead of five and lets stores expand evening hours. France's 35-hour workweek law is unaffected.