PARIS Jan 30 Unions at France's second-biggest
courier business have agreed a deal that saves 2,150 jobs but
offers little solace to French President Francois Hollande's
efforts to reduce unemployment.
Workers at Mory-Ducros had been locked in dispute with
majority shareholder Arcole Industries for weeks, occupying
several company sites after the courier business filed for
bankruptcy in November and launched a restructuring programme
that put 5,200 jobs in jeopardy.
The news delivered a blow to President Hollande's efforts to
start bringing down unemployment, stuck near 11 percent, by the
end of 2013. His promise was finally buried this week by jobless
data showing a rise in claims.
The deal with unlisted industrial holding group Arcole
protects 2,150 jobs and improves severance terms for the more
than 3,000 employees who still face redundancy.
In a statement, six unions said they had agreed to lift
their blockade and signed off on the new deal, in which Arcole
promises to raise its total payout for redundancies to 30
million euros ($40.93 million) from 21 million euros.
Industry Minister Arnaud Montebourg, who participated in
all-night talks to defuse the Mory-Ducros dispute, said that
laid-off workers would be offered several options, including
training and jobs with a public transport firm.
Hollande, facing further job losses, shifted economic gears
in January to embrace a supply-side approach, offering companies
a large reduction in labour costs to help them to regain a
competitive edge and start hiring.
($1 = 0.7329 euros)
(Reporting By Nicholas Vinocur; Editing by David Goodman)