Gilbert Cette, Jacques Barthélémy

Reconstructing Social Law to Reform How the Labour Market Functions Publication date : September 9, 2015

Gilbert Cette is an associate professor of economics at Aix-Marseille University and a specialist in issues relating to economic growth, productivity and the labour market.
Jacques Barthélémy is an associate professor in the law faculty of Montpellier, an attorney specialising in social legislation, the founder of the law firm Barthélémy Avocats, and an expert in issues relating to social law and protection.
Terra Nova is an independent, progressive think tank which aims to create and publicise innovative political solutions, in France and the rest of Europe.
Reforming labour laws, an urgent need
French social law, and particularly labour law, is characterised by an excess of rules and regulations that hinder economic growth and job creation. In this respect, France is an exception among European nations — and yet French workers do not enjoy greater protection than other European workers. In fact, they feel more insecure. Reforming French social law has become both urgent and necessary.
But how can economic efficiency be improved without abandoning the protective role of social law? That is the question that Gilbert Cette and Jacques Barthélémy answer here, in a report written at the request of the think tank Terra Nova. The authors, recognised experts in social legislation and in labour markets, argue in favour of conventional legislation based on collective bargaining, which offers better protection and is better suited to local contexts. Exploring an approach based on exception clauses — one that favours collective agreements over laws and regulations — they reveal the limitations as well as the full potential of such an approach, within a framework of reform.
This is a crucial issue for the economy and for society.

• A much awaited reform on a highly sensitive issue.