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France: Labor Unions, Companies, Government Reach National Agreement to Prevent Workplace Harassmen
France announced on April 28th that labor unions, companies and the government had “unanimously” signed a national agreement aimed at preventing workplace harassment and violence. Eric Woerth, the new minister of labor, solidarity and the civil service, said the agreement came after eight negotiating sessions and transposing to France the December 2006 European Union framework agreement on harassment and violence at work. The so-called inter-profession agreement text provides recommendations to help employers, employees and their representatives to better identify and prevent the “psychosocial risks of violence and harassment at work. The goals on preventation will also be included in the government’s second “Health at Work Plan,” from 2010 to 2014.
Woerth said the new agreement complements an accord on the prevention of stress at work signed by labor unions and employer organizations in July 2008 which was officially published on May 6, 2009. The government had pushed for the accord in response to a wave of suicides that had plagued and continue to plague several major French companies, including France Telecom, Electricité de France, Renault, and Peugeot. Woerth who previously headed the Ministry of Budget took over the Labor Ministry after his predecessor’s actions caused the ruling party to take a beating in regional elections.
“France Announces Agreement On Workplace Violence, Harassment,” BNA Daily Labor Report, 4/30/2010.